In 2010, there were just four distilleries operating in Ireland. Today there are 46 working distilleries – 38 in the Republic and eight in Northern Ireland – with many more in planning across the country, from the largest investments in Midleton and Tullamore, to other towns and villages throughout Ireland.

Kieran Davis, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, Joe Devenney, Conor McMenamin at Crolly Distillery

The latest addition to the distillery list is the Crolly Distillery which opened last month in Co Donegal by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue. Cutting the ribbon in his home county, the distillery is at the old Doll Factory in Killindarragh, Crolly, and is the first distillery to operate in Donegal in 180 years.

Joe Devenney, Conor McMenamin and Kieran Davis are the people behind this project. Having a common interest in whiskey, they have watched the resurgence of Irish whiskey on a global scale and wanted to be part of the story.

They are certainly joining a booming market as Irish whiskey industry is the fastest growing whiskey category in the world.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and Joe Devenney of Crolly Distillery.

The positive impact the industry has had is not limited to Irish whiskey sales, as during the second part of the last decade, Irish whiskey tourism has emerged as a star performer in Ireland’s tourism portfolio; and Irish whiskey has begun to be recognised as a world leader in experiential tourism.

Overall visitor numbers to Irish whiskey distilleries and brand homes grew by 54%, from 653,000 in 2015 to just over 1m in 2019. It is estimated that visitors to distilleries in 2019 contributed spending of €90m in total to the broader economy.

Obviously numbers took a hit in 2020 but once travel restrictions lift, no doubt there will be plenty of planes making their way across the Atlantic to sample some of the good stuff.

Distillery dining

Outdoor dining is getting a whiskey buzz as Roe & Co Distillery have teamed up with six of the most exciting local restaurants in Dublin. Situated at the iconic former Guinness Power Station, in the heart of the Liberties district, the Roe & Co Distillery have offered up their home to local businesses whose outdoor dining options are limited.

Spitalfields, Pickle, Bahay, Nightmarket, Matsu and Lil Portie will be serving up set menus with big flavours throughout the summer. Each restaurant will feature a unique curated Roe & Co whiskey cocktail pairing on their menu. First up is Spitalfields, the only pub in Dublin and Ireland to have been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in the 2021 Michelin guide.

Chef Stephen McAlister Spitafields Roe & Co Outdoor dining.

One of the highlights that chef Stephen McAlister (pictured left) will be serving up is potted shrimp with devilled eggs and Goatsbridge trout roe on soda bread. Paired with Roe & Co whiskey cocktails, this menu is a total picnic. Set menus are €40 per person.

To book, go to