Whiskey:                       Great Northern Distillery (GND)

Presentation:  Dundalk - Revival of Whiskey

Great Northern Distillery

Two distilleries – Pot still and Column still, built on the site of the former Harp Brewery, which was established in 1895.

Capacity:                 Pot Stills           5m Litres of Single Malt/Pot Still                                                                                    (15 million bottles)

              Column Stills    10m Litres of Grain Whiskey                                                                (30 million bottles)                                                                            Still Room GND


Irish Whiskey Market

  • Fastest growing brown spirit sales  in the World
  • Sales in 2016 8m cases of 12 bottles up from 2.5m 15 years ago.  Still less than 8% of Scotch sales.
  • Sales expected to rise to 20m plus by 2024 driven by young drinkers in America, the opening up of Eastern Europe and Russia and growing Middle Classes in emerging markets drinking brown spirits
  • Main markets are the US and Europe, all growing fast.  Asia, Africa and South America are virtually untouched.



Whiskey is originally Irish   The climate, water and grain produce mellow spirit.  In the 19th century Irish had 60% of world sales and over 1,000 distilleries.  This fell to one distilling company in 1973.  Revival began in 1987 with the establishment of Cooley.  Now, Pernod, Jose Cuervo, Jim Beam/Suntory and Grants have distilleries, while up to 30 are planned or are being built; generally small pot still operations.


GND will distil the full range of Irish whiskeys – grain, single malt, peated malt and pot still. The market is Private Label for customers not wishing to own distilleries, Retail Own Label as well as supplying Grain whiskey to distilleries with pot stills.


Ownership                                                                                                                        Barrels in Warehouse

GND is a private company owned by the Teeling family, Jim Finn and David Hynes who between them established Cooley Distillery and rebuilt Kilbeggan Distillery before selling them to Jim Beam/Suntory.                                                                                                             

Jack and Stephen built and own the Teeling Whiskey Company in Dublin.
Types of Irish Whiskey

Ireland has three categories of whiskey, Scotland has two (no pot still whiskey)

  • Grain whiskey – produced from unmalted cereals normally maize or wheat with a percentage of malted barley. Distilled in columns
  • Pot still whiskey – distilled from a combination of a minimum of 30% malted barley, the rest unmalted cereals, usually unmalted barley and distilled in pots
  • Malt whiskey – distilled from a mash of 100% malted barley and distilled in pots
Irish is often triple distilled. Pot sizes in Ireland vary more than in Scotland. Both Midleton and Dundalk have large pots.
Malt Whiskey Distilling        
Barley is malted, a process of soaking the barley and spreading it for about three weeks, allowing it to sprout, and drying and
heating it. The grain is ground and cooked.

Mashing                                                                                                                                                                                          Pot Stills
The cooked grain and malted barley are added to warm water, which converts into a liquid known as mash
The mash is added to a fermentation tank, along with yeast. The yeast converts the sugar to alcohol. After 60 hours, the resulting  liquid is about 10% alcohol and is known as wash.
The wash is heated to the point where the alcohol turns to vapour, but the water remains liquid. The alcohol is then collected in a second container. This process is repeated to produce “new fill”. The new fill may be distilled two or three times.
Water is added to pot to bring the casking strength to 65/69%, which is aged in wooden barrels, usually made from charred oak.  The whiskey ages for at least three, and some aged ten or fifteen years.

Making Grain Whiskey
Select the grains. Generally maize with a percentage of malted barley
Add water and cook the grains
Fermenting                                                                                                                                                               Top of Column Stills
Move the mash to fermenters where yeast is added
The wash as it is known is moved to large vertical columns where it is distilled twice or three times up to an alcohol strength of about 94%
The new fill is reduced in strength to 65% and casked in oak barrels. Then aged for three years at least


162 Clontarf Road, Dublin 3, Ireland
Ph: +353 1 833 2833
Powered by TMG