Cork's Jameson Experience plans major revamp

Cork's Jameson Experience plans major revamp

The distillery in Midleton opened in 1825 and the visitor centre opened in 1992. Picture: Dan Linehan

Irish Distillers is planning a major revamp of its highly-successful visitor centre, the Jameson Experience in Midleton.

A spokesman for Irish Distillers, said the Jameson Distillery, Midleton, welcomes people from around the world, and they want to make sure their tourism product continues to match the high-quality whiskeys that it's known for internationally.

“In order to maintain our overall visitor experience in Midleton, we are making some upgrades to the site to provide for the future needs of our visitors and staff," the spokesman said. "Our guided tours and experiences will temporarily relocate to another part of our site to facilitate these upgrades."

The company has been granted planning permission by Cork County Council for the upgrade of two of the blocks at the site.

The upgraded heritage centre will consist of a new reception area, auditorium, whiskey-tasting rooms, bar areas, kitchens, café/restaurant, retail shop including off-trade whiskey sales.

It will also include offices, a meeting room, toilets, lounge, storage, staff facilities and plant/services areas.

The works will have to be carried out in line with provisions set down by the council as the blocks are protected structures.

The company spokesman said it was unclear as yet when construction would get underway due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

He was also unable to give an estimated cost for the overall project, but it is understood it will run into a number of million euro.

Construction won’t start until it is 100% safe to do so from a Covid perspective, probably in the autumn, but it’s difficult to definitively say.

The distillery was opened in Midleton in 1825 in buildings that prior to that housed a woollen mill. They were later turned into a barracks for British Army soldiers.

The visitor centre opened there in 1992.

One-hour tours of the Midleton centre are particularly popular amongst foreign visitors. The guided tour takes them through the old distillery where they can view the old kilns, mills, maltings, water wheel, still house, distiller's cottage, cooperage, and warehouses.

Visitors can also participate in taste testing, comparing Jameson Whiskey with Scottish and American whiskys.

The Midleton centre and the Jameson Distillery at Bow Street, Dublin attract more than 500,000 visitors per year.

Both centres are currently closed in line with government Covid-19 restrictions.

Jameson saw sales fall marginally for the first time in many years in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, despite the Covid-19 slowdown, Jameson achieved growth in over 50 markets, including key markets like South Africa, Russia, Britain and Ireland, and experienced solid growth in emerging markets including Nigeria and China.

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