For over 200 years, the Kilbeggan Distillery produced some of the finest whiskey in the world. In 1957 the stills ran dry but 50 years later Cooley Distillery, the multi-award winning independent whiskey distiller, breathed new life into the world's oldest distillery and today, the first new whiskey to be distilled at Kilbeggan in over 53 years was officially unveiled at an intimate gathering at the Kilbeggan Distillery in Co. Westmeath.
The Kilbeggan Distillery Reserve Malt, the latest addition to the Kilbeggan family of fine whiskeys, is produced from the oldest pot still in the world which dates back to 1830. The Kilbeggan Distillery itself was established in 1757 and is the oldest distillery in the world.
Fittingly the local heritage group was in attendance to witness the launch of the new whiskey as they played a key role in ensuring the survival of the distillery during the years it lay dormant. Also in attendance were distillery employees, without whom the world's oldest still could not have been brought back to life. All gathered at this momentous event received a signed bottle of the first batch.
The whiskey world has waited in anticipation for half a century for the first new bottling from the historic Kilbeggan distillery. Distilled from 100% malted barley, the Kilbeggan Distillery Reserve, due to the distinctive narrow necks of the ancient pot still design, is an exceptionally smooth and flavoursome Irish Malt whiskey of distinctive character.
John Teeling, Chairman of Cooley Distillery commented at the launch, "This is another significant landmark in the rejuvenation of the great Kilbeggan distilling tradition. A huge amount of hard work by Cooley employees and the local heritage committee has gone into getting us to this day. It is a labour of love to re-establish the Kilbeggan Distillery as a centre of distilling excellence. Heritage and tradition are vital elements in whiskey. Great whiskeys come from great distilleries. Today's whiskey, though young, has a distinct character both smooth and flavoursome; a character that will only improve with age. And why wouldn't it, being distilled by the world's best distillers, in the oldest working pot still in the world and matured in 200 year old granite warehouses."
Today's launch also marked the unveiling of the recently rebranded Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey. Currently sold in over 35 international markets, the Kilbeggan brand is Cooley Distillery's flagship Blended whiskey. The rebrand project involved creating an over-arching identity for the Kilbeggan Irish whiskey brand and the Kilbeggan Distillery. This highlights both the unique provenance as the oldest distillery in the world and the high quality of the whiskey. The Kilbeggan 15 Year Old Irish whiskey was honoured recently as the Best Whiskey in the World at the 2009 International Wine& Spirits Competition in London.
Jack Teeling, Managing Director of Cooley Distillery said, "We are delighted to be able to accompany the release of the first new whiskey from the Kilbeggan Distillery with the unveiling of the rebranded Kilbeggan Irish whiskey range. The new packaging pays homage to the rich heritage and quality of the Kilbeggan brand while also maintaining a contemporary look and feel. We look forward to seeing the trade's and consumer's reaction to the new look Kilbeggan Irish whiskey."
The rebranded Kilbeggan is being rolled out in Germany and the US with all other markets following suit over the next few months. This will be followed by the release of a range of brand extensions including a Super Premium Kilbeggan 18 Year Old.