Owners Bernard and Rosemary Walsh and Augusto Reina, chief executive of Italian drinks producer Illva Saronno SpA of Milan officially opened Royal Oak today (June 21).
It claims to be unique among independent Irish distilleries in being able to distil all three styles of Irish whiskey – pot still, malt and grain.
The company started distilling on Easter Sunday this year and is laying down stocks for release from 2019 onwards after the minimum three year maturation process has been completed.
The distillery’s 8m bottle capacity is equivalent to 9.7% of the total Irish whiskey exports in 2014. Walsh Whiskey’s major brands, The Irishman and Writers Tears, are already sold in 40 countries. It says it will use the additional capacity to bolster supplies to core markets (US, Russia and Europe) and target major Asian markets including India and China.
Illva Saronno, which owns the Disaronno and Tia Maria brands, has a 50% share in the distillery. 15% of Royal Oak’s annual production will be allocated to contract sales.
The distillery is located on an 18th century estate on the banks of the river Barrow comprising 40 acres of pastoral land. The Walsh’s say the distillery and visitor centre will create 55 jobs and bring 75,000 whiskey tourists to Royal Oak and Ireland’s Ancient East tourism trail.