Wednesday 23 October 2013

Teeling Whiskey Distillery

Update 29 Jan 2014: The new distillery was officially announced in a press release today. Here's an artist's rendering of the planned distillery (click to enlarge):

On a recent Sunday afternoon I took a walk around the proposed site for Teeling's new distillery. It occupies the space between 28-31 Mill Street, to the south, and 13-17 Newmarket Square, to the north, in Dublin's Liberties (or, more prosaically, Dublin 8) (Google Maps).

Newmarket Square is close to Cork Street and Patrick Street, both major arteries, but I'd never seen it before. It's a little residential, a lot industrial and not as pretty or vibrant as it could be, considering its central location and surviving historical fabric.

Newmarket Square

That Sunday, a kite-flying couple were supplying the square's only colour and noise. Until I followed this arrow inside a warehouse, that is:

Almost every Sunday there is some kind of market here, at the Dublin Food Co-op. On "Fusion Sundays", the world comes to Newmarket, bringing its food, crafts, music and dance troupes. This photo doesn't begin to capture the genuinely exotic hubbub:

The distillery site currently shares an unlovely façade with the Co-op. The distillery portion will be entirely reclad in stone with new shuttered windows, a granite-framed archway and various other accenting features. Notable will be a Dutch Billy-style gable, fused with a pagoda kiln roof, and topped by a weather vane in the shape of Teeling's phoenix motif. It is all as visually busy as it sounds but the architects, George Boyle Designs, hope it will "define a new urban edge" along Newmarket.

The existing façade of the distillery building

This remodeled façade will be the entrance to the visitor centre where several floors will host exhibition space, a tasting area, retail, and a café (which will be open to everyone, not just those touring the distillery).

Behind the visitor centre, extending towards Mill Street, will be the working bits of the distillery. The plans describe this as a "micro craft distillery", producing a maximum of 500,000 litres of pure alcohol (lpa) per year, though 200,000 lpa is the short term goal.

There will be three pot stills, the wash still taking a 15,000 litre charge. The intention is to make both malt and pot still spirit. There won't be a column still but Teeling can already source grain spirit from Cooley and, by the time it has whiskey ready to bottle, the Great Northern Distillery should have something available in that line too for blending.

This is a view along the west edge of the distillery, from Mill Street towards Newmarket. The pebble-dashed structure closest is the remains of two old houses. Behind that is the warehouse that will hold the distillery, and behind that again the warehouse that will be converted to a visitor centre.

Mill Lane

Here's a shot along Mill Street. The white building in the foreground is the Dublin Whiskey Company, separated from Teeling by a narrow warehouse. You can just see the entrance to a small yard at the back of Teeling. That's where grain will be delivered and spirit tankered away (there will be no casking on site).

Mill Street

The Teeling planning application makes great play out of the Liberties' long vanished status as a centre for brewing, distilling and malting. With the Teeling distillery, the Dublin Whiskey Company, Alltech, Five Lamps Brewery and Guinness all in the same neighbourhood, the Liberties will soon be able to claim that mantle again.