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Glendalough

Glendalough Distillery was founded in 2011 by friends Barry Gallagher, Brian Fagan, Gary McLoughlin and Kevin Keenan with the intent to emphasise traditional methods of Irish distillation in the belief that the industry and market were ready for a return of independent Irish whiskey. For brand inspiration, the friends looked towards the story of Glendalough, a settlement founded by the legendary St. Kevin. Despite supposedly being of noble birth, St. Kevin lived as a hermit, and was said to be at such one with nature that a blackbird laid her eggs on him. St. Kevin subsequently spent thirteen days and nights standing still, waiting for them to hatch and a further thirteen days and nights waiting for them to fledge (as you would). Glendalough Distillery uses this image as its logo, and it features on every bottling. In 2013 the current Glendalough Distillery was built on the edge of Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow, featuring a 500L Holstein still imported from Germany. While the distillery waited for its own stocks to mature, whiskey was sourced from the Cooley Distillery in Louth, which was given a sense of Glendalough identity through maturation and blending. The range currently features the Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey and the Glendalough 13 Year Old Irish Whiskey - Mizunara Oak Finish, as well as a rather charming gin. These aren’t the only spirits the Wicklow distillery specialises in, however. Maintaining the desire for traditional Irish distillation, Glendalough began producing poitín, much like the Irish monks of the 6th century. Distilled from sugar beet and barley and matured in Irish oak casks, the first incarnation of Glendalough poitín was released in 2012. There has since been a version matured in sherry casks, demonstrating the distillery’s experimental side. In 2016 an Irish unit of Canadian drinks distribution group Mark Anthony Brands injected over €5.5m into the company, taking a significant stake in Glendalough Distillery. Other investors backing the project are rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll and C&C (whose brands include Bulmers cider) chief financial officer Kenny Neison.

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