Diageo is set to unveil its latest venture in The Liberties when it officially opens the new Roe & Co Irish Whiskey distillery on James’s Street. The whiskey distillery and visitor centre is located within the St James’s Gate Brewery’s iconic power station – a 1940s Art Deco-inspired building that powered the sprawling brewery complex right into the 1990s. Roe & Co Irish Whiskey is part of the brewing giant’s efforts to join the current revival in Irish distilling that has seen 3 other whiskey distilleries open in The Liberties since 2015.
The Roe & Co brand is itself a revival: the original George Roe & Sons Distillery operated through the 19thC at what is now the Digital Depot complex around the landmark St Patrick’s Tower. The distillery was the largest in the world at its height in the 1880s; its then owner Sir Henry Roe being one of the country’s richest men. He famously donated the then enormous sum of £250,000 towards an extensive restoration of Christ Church Cathedral in the 1860s. However the encroachment of cheaper Scotch blends and turmoil of the early 1900s greatly affected the market for Irish whiskey and after a number of efforts to amalgamate and sustain itself, the then Dublin Distillers Company closed its doors in the 1920s. By the 1940s, its lands has been sold to Guinness & Sons, who developed facilities such as its print works (which is the building that today houses Digital Depot), as well as to Dublin Corporation for housing.
Diageo has dramatically invested in The Liberties in recent years. Its Brewhouse No 4 at Victoria Quay opened in 2014, representing a massive €130m investment in the future of brewing in the area. The tourist mecca of The Guinness Storehouse is currently undergoing a major refit, doubling the size of its iconic Gravity Bar and adding a new Archive facility at Grand Canal Place. The Open Gate Brewery at James’s Street is a regular weekend venue focused on smaller craft beers and experimental brews, that is set to expand and develop. And the company has hugely ambitious plans for a new St James’s Gate Quarter, unlocking the development potential of over 12 acres of its original brewery lands.
Into this exciting mix comes Roe & Co Irish Whiskey Distillery. The former power station has been dramatically re-imagined and re-purposed to provide a modern visitor experience as well as being a fully working distillery. The company will unveil its new operation with a series of spectacular opening evenings this week. The distillery opens to visitors later this month.
More about Roe & Co Whiskey at www,roeandcowhiskey.com.