Next stage of development underway as stills arrive at new Roe & Co distillery. €25 million investment over three years in building new distillery and visitor centre
The three large copper vessels that will distil Roe & Co Irish whiskey arrived recently at their new home at the site of the former Guinness Power Station on James’s Street in Dublin, which is being regenerated as a new state-of-the-art Roe & Co Distillery and visitor experience. The wash still, intermediate still, and spirit still have been crafted at Diageo’s Abercombie coppersmiths in Alloa, Scotland, where work has been underway since the end of 2017.
Roe & Co is named in honour of George Roe, the once world-famous whiskey maker who helped build the golden era of Irish Whiskey in the 19th century. His distillery, George Roe and Co extended over 17 acres on Thomas Street in Dublin and was once Ireland’s largest distillery. As neighbours for hundreds of years George Roe and Co and Guinness were the two biggest names at the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling quarter. The new distillery and visitor centre is situated just a stone’s throw away from where the George Roe and Co distillery once stood and when up and running, will distil 14,000 litres of whiskey in every run, with an annual capacity of approximately 500,000 litres.
Diageo announced its move into the Premium Blended Irish Whiskey category in January 2017, outlining a €25 million investment over three years in getting the Roe & Co brand off the ground and building a new distillery and visitor centre. The construction project is well underway, with production equipment recently lifted into place and Roe & Co branding installed on the iconic building. The next major step will be the fabrication of wooden washbacks, which will provide the key feedstock for the distillery.
Gavan O’Halloran, Project Manager for the Distillery build, said: “The Guinness Power Station, which is being transformed into the new Roe & Co Distillery, has been an iconic part of the sky line in the Liberties since it was completed in 1948. It housed the coal fired steam boilers and turbines that powered the Guinness brewery for many decades. This is an important moment in the future of the Liberties and Dublin 8. We are delighted to be breathing life back into this old industrial building by installing three beautiful copper pot stills to make Roe & Co Irish whiskey. When we open our gates in 2019, our pot stills will sit proudly looking out on James’s St., welcoming visitors to our new distillery and visitor experience.”
Observing the vessels being lifted onto trucks at Abercombie’s was the recently appointed Roe & Co. Head Distiller, Lora Hemy. Lora joined Diageo from Atom Brands and Halewood Wines and Spirits in the UK and has a Masters degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University. She said: “Making whiskey in Dublin in the most exciting spirits category in the world is a dream job for me! I see my role at the distillery as laying out a palette of colours for our Master Blender to work with – ultimately, I am looking to create a spectrum of liquid that allows us to continue crafting Roe & Co for the future. We have three unique copper stills and the distillery is being designed so that we can run both triple distillation and double distillation. This means we will have the flexibility to experiment – balancing the best of Irish distilling tradition with innovation based on the flavour experiences that modern day consumers are telling us they are looking for.”
Hayley Millner, Roe & Co Marketing Manager, said: “Roe & Co launched in 2017 and is now available in markets across multiple European countries. We are truly creating a brand that becomes a trusted ‘go to’ for the bar tending community across Europe. The distillery development is making great progress and we cannot wait to welcome people through the doors when we open next year.”