Newry.ie

A new £7.3million Whiskey Distillery, Bar, Restaurant and Visitor Centre is on the way to Newry after planning permission was granted at yesterdays Newry, Mourne and Down Council Planning Committee meeting. The Distillery aims to produce around 9000 cases per year of single malt, ultimately retaining stock for at least ten years for the premium market.

The project is expected to take around 18 months and will create around 50 hospitality jobs, as well as positions for a Master Distiller and staff with cooperage skills, to oversee the future maturation process of the whiskey distilled at the Monaghan street site.

Whiskey tourism is a multi million pound business and when completed, Newry will have a thriving international tourist attraction focusing on the US, Chinese, European and Australasian markets.

Michael McKeown the well-known Newry businessman and entrepreneur is the brains behind the project which will be located on the site of the ArmaghDown Bar in Monaghan Street in Newry, the former location of the Matt D’Arcy & Company distillery business which goes back as far as 1817.

Whiskey Galore - Michael McKeown, left, owner and investor of Matthew D’Arcy & Company with Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive, Matt D’Arcy & Company making plans for the transformation of the Monaghan Street site. Photograph: Kieran McAlinden Photography
Whiskey Galore - Michael McKeown, left, owner and investor of Matthew D’Arcy & Company with Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive, Matt D’Arcy & Company, making plans for the transformation of the Monaghan Street site. Photograph: Kieran McAlinden Photography

The newly revived Matt D'Arcy & Company will include a fully restored Victorian bar, restaurant and international visitors centre.

The site will be returned to its former use as a fully functioning whiskey distillery producing single malt for the premium market on the international stage. The size of the entire project site is expected to be around 14,000 square feet over several floors with the £7.3million investment spread over three years.

Commenting on the potential of the project, Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive, Matt D’Arcy & Company who has over 20 years international experience with a host of iconic Irish brands such as Jameson & the delivery of Ireland’s largest tourism initiative, The Gathering 2013, said “We are thrilled to have received such good news on the positive planning decision. This will now see us move to the next stage of the plans for Matt D’Arcy.

“This is a really special development which will create jobs, fill local hotels and bring many tourists to this key attraction on the eastern corridor of Ireland, perfectly positioned between Belfast and Dublin.

“We have already received a significant amount of interest in the plans to develop the Irish whiskey tourism offering on this part of the island which we believe will be very successful.

“The Irish whiskey market is hugely successful and growing at a significant rate. Last year the market produced a modest 9 million cases with the 2020 target of 12 million cases looking like it will be exceeded.

“Our ambition is to create a world class tourist offering through the restoration of the 200 year old site famous for whiskey distillation."

Michael McKeown, owner and investor of Matthew D’Arcy & Company added “We took our time in bringing forward the plans to make sure that we got the proposal for the restoration of such a key site in Newry just right. The development of this location into a flagship international tourist attraction has been a passion of mine for some time and is an exciting investment.

“I’m thrilled that we are now moving forward with enthusiasm and that the benefits of this great asset will be felt by the business and hospitality sectors locally and nationally.”

Speaking of time frame Andrew Cowan concluded "“For some years now, we have been maturing our own whiskey off site and will release a premium matured merchant Irish Whiskey in early 2019 prior to distilling at the Monaghan Street location on completion of the construction phase.

“Very soon we will be creating roles for a specialist Whiskey distiller, maturation experts and are also at the developmental stages to bring forward the first recognised cooperage course to train young apprentices and rekindle a dying art.”

Edit 9/7/18

Newry & Armagh MLA Conor Murphy has welcomed the news saying “I must commend Michael and the Matt D’Arcy Company  on their commitment to Newry and this project.

"He has worked diligently with all, including elected representatives, to bring his vision of creating this project at the old Matt D’Arcy Whiskey Distillers to life.

"This is good news for Newry City and the entire region with the potential of 50 jobs being created.I look forward to work on the development starting soon”.

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