Many towns and cities in Europe have an Alt Stadt or Old Town. In Stockholm, it’s Gamla Stan, In Sarajevo it’s Baščaršija and in Dublin, it’s The Liberties.
The Liberties was the historic heart of the Dublin Brewing and Distilling Industry until the decline of these industries throughout Ireland in the early 20th century. A “Golden Triangle” within The Liberties contained many famous old breweries and distilleries including William Jameson at Marrowbone Lane, Guinness, George Roe and Co., Walter Teeling and Powers in John’s Lane.
The current Irish Whiskey Renaissance has rejuvenated The Liberties’ whiskey past with several new whiskey distilleries opening within a stones throw of their ancestors’ and predecessors’ original distillery sites.
The constant that is Guinness has been joined in recent years by the Teeling Whiskey Distillery and Pearse Lyons Distillery. Diageo who also own Guinness are currently developing a new Roe and Co Distillery near to the site of the original George Roe and Co distillery.
Dublin’s latest Whiskey Distillery, The Dublin Liberties Distillery opened a few weeks ago, after two years of construction in the Liberties’ Mill Street. This places them back to back with Teeling who are directly behind them in Newmarket Square.
The Dublin Liberties Distillery has been developed by a partnership led by the Quintessential Brands Group whose Irish Whiskey brands include The Dubliner and Dublin Liberties Irish Whiskeys. They also produce Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey for the famous Irish owned New York Whiskey Bar of the same name.
Over €20 Million has been invested in the development of the new distillery and brands. I was delighted to attend their recent Launch Event at the new Distillery at the end of February. A small matter of a knee replacement operation two days after the event has delayed me posting about it until today as I slowly get back to normality!
Production at the Dublin Liberties Distillery has now commenced under the leadership of their Master Distiller Darryl McNally who worked for many years in distillery operations management at Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland.
Distillery operations and Whiskey production will run alongside an immersive and innovative whiskey tourism offering which promises to give visitors an unrivalled close-up view of modern Irish Whiskey making with daily distillery tours.
On the launch party distillery tour, I was struck with the skilful use of lighting by the DLD interior designers. This has enabled them to tastefully bridge the transition of visitors from the industrial look of the Brewing Plant, through the Still Hall with three Copper Pot Stills, to end the tour in their wonderfully decorated cocktail bar and tasting suite.
A huge amount of thought has gone into the whole “look and feel” of this visitor journey. As you can see from the photos in this article, it all comes together really well.
The tour guides at Dublin Liberties Distillery adopt the personas of characters from the Liberties “darker” past as they guide you with their story telling through both the history of the area and the whiskey making process. It’s all great fun and offers a refreshing and innovative approach to whiskey tourism in the area.
Witches and Oak Devils from the Dark Past of The Liberties guide your Dublin Liberties Distillery Tour.
The Dublin Liberties Distillery Vision
Master Distiller Darryl McNally is up front and enthusiastic about his desire to “push the boundaries of the Irish Whiskey category” at the Dublin Liberties Distillery.
“Making whiskey is my passion, my lifeblood, and to be doing it in the heart of Dublin’s historic distilling district is nothing short of a dream come true for me.
I believe the future for Irish whiskey is in innovation and pushing the boundaries – and that’s what I’ll be working with the team here to deliver – the best Irish whiskey you could have the luck of getting on your lips.
We’re inspired by the past, but not bound by it, and can’t wait to show the world just how diverse Irish whiskey can be.”
I had the pleasure of meeting several of the new DLD management team at the launch event. It was great to renew aquaintance with several past contacts who I knew from their previous key positions in companies such as William Grant and Sons and Pernod Ricard.
Some serious talent aquisition and head hunting has gone into building this new Dublin Liberties Distillery Team which augers very well for future development of their distillery operations, tourism offerings and whiskey brands.
Shane Hoyne who is Chief Marketing Officer for Quintessential Brands added.
“Irish whiskey’s rise over the last few years has been phenomenal, but with talented visionaries like Darryl emerging, I believe we’re now entering its most exciting era yet.
Darryl is a constant source of ideas and combined with his unrivalled distilling skill, there’s no limits for Irish whiskey.
Right now, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the team’s achievement in building this fantastic distillery but with much more to come from us this year, I believe this is the year the Dublin Liberties Distillery will make its mark on the Irish whiskey category.”
These really are exciting times for the whole area as the Golden Triangle of The Liberties Whiskey Distilleries (or what I like to refer to as “The Stilleries”) rises once more like a Phoenix from the ashes of a Golden Past.
Dublin Liberties Distllery produce the following whiskeys:
- The Dubliner which is a blended Irish Whiskey aged in Bourbon casks and bottled @ 40% ABV. I really liked the honey and spice elements here. A very approachable and easy drinking whiskey.
- Dublin Liberties Oak Devil which now seems to have gone from a non age statement to a 5 Year Old blended Whiskey @ 46% ABV. At least my miniature tasting sample is a 5 YO. I first came across Oak Devil as a non age statement whiskey whenI was judging at the Irish Quality Food Awards. The extra two years have really worked welll. One to buy!
- Dublin Liberties Copper Alley (Copper Alley was an artisan and copper smith quarter of the Old Liberties). This whiskey, which I have yet to taste myself is a 10 Year Old Single Malt which is finished in 30 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Casks for six months before being bottled at 46% ABV.
- The Dead Rabbit Whiskey which is produced by Dublin Liberties Distillery for the Dead Rabbit Whiskey Bar in New York. Lots of distinctive vanilla notes here, as it is finished in virgin oak casks.
Further details of the New Dublin Liberties Distillery including tour times and booking details are available at TheDLD.com. I look forward to addding them to the Dublin Whiskey Trail and Irish Whiskey Trail Websites and Apps in due course.
Many thanks again to Daryl and all of the DLD team for your wonderful hospitality at the launch event.
The New Liberties Whiskey Tourism Map
LibertiesDublin.ie have just released a Dublin Liberties Distillery Tourism Map and they have kindly given me permission to reproduce it here.