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The Echlinville Distillery (Co. Down, Northern Ireland) is adding the historic Matt D’Arcy Irish Whiskey brand to its portfolio of award winning whiskeys.

Echlinville and Newry based Matt D’Arcy & Co Limited have forged an alliance that will see Echlinville mature, bottle and market Matt. D’Arcy Old Irish Whiskey and grow the brand in the global Irish whiskey market.

Michael McKeown and Shane Braniff
Michael McKeown, Matt D'Arcy & Co and Shane Braniff, Echlinville Distillery.

Founded in Newry, Co. Down in 1817, Matt. D’Arcy Whiskey was revived by Newry man Michael McKeown in 2020. It is the latest heritage whiskey brand to join the Echlinville line up.

Matt D’Arcy will sit alongside Echlinville’s award winning Dunville’s Irish Whiskey range and the recently restored Old Comber Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The move sees three of Ireland’s most historic ‘lost’ whiskey brands brought together at the County Down distillery that has established itself at the forefront of Ireland’s whiskey revival.

Shane Braniff, owner of The Echlinville Distillery, said: “We are delighted to welcome Matt D’Arcy into the Echlinville family and we look forward to sharing the story and celebrating the legacy of this proud Co. Down whiskey with our customers around the world.

“I have long had a passion for old Irish whiskey brands, particularly those from Co. Down, so I have followed with interest the revival of Matt D’Arcy Irish Whiskey over the past few years.

“At Echlinville, we know from first-hand experience the hard work, passion and dedication that goes in to restoring a historic name like Matt D’Arcy, and in doing so in a way that respects and celebrates the brand’s proud heritage. I congratulate Michael McKeown and his team at Matt D’Arcy & Co. Ltd in Newry for everything they have done to bring back this historic whiskey and we welcome Michael’s continued input into the future of the brand about which he is hugely passionate. We have also offered Michael our technical support as he pursues the redevelopment of the Old Distillery site in Newry in line with his vision to restore distilling to the city where Matt D’Arcy Whiskey was born.

“Michael has written a wonderful book telling the great story of Matt D’Arcy and old Newry whiskeys. The book will be available from our Distillery shop alongside Matt D’Arcy Whiskey. The spirit and presentation of Matt D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey are exceptional and it will make a worthy addition to the Echlinville portfolio.”

Echlinville are proud custodians of the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand and recently revived the famous Old Comber Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Speaking about the role of heritage brands in the Irish whiskey sector, Shane continued: “These old Irish whiskey brands are hugely important. Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries they built an industry that was the envy of the world, and now their revival is playing an important role in the resurgence of that industry. In our view, names like Matt D’Arcy, Dunville’s and Old Comber deserve to be part of the Irish whiskey renaissance.”

Michael McKeown owner of Matt D’Arcy & Co. Ltd. said: “Having grown up in the production and selling of alcoholic drinks, I have the greatest respect for Shane Braniff at Echlinville, whose passion and enthusiasm for Irish whiskey heritage matches my own. 

“Echlinville’s brands are now widely sold across Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world. When Shane offered to bring Matt D’Arcy along the path to international recognition, I was only too happy to entrust the brand into his care and I look forward to seeing it grow on the worldwide whiskey stage.

“The high cost of breaking into foreign markets is the biggest barrier to a small producer like Matt D’Arcy’s. Collaborating with an established player such as Echlinville will propel the brand towards future growth.

“With this boost to our fortunes where Echlinville creates markets for the D’Arcy brand, we can turn our resources to developing the ‘Old Distillery’ site in Monaghan Street, Newry. Having acquired, in October 2020, the adjoining property at Corry Square, a revised application has been submitted to Building Control and the result is awaited before drawing up and issuing final tendering documentation.”

Shane Braniff concluded: “Michael McKeown’s passion for Matt D’Arcy, Irish whiskey and the city of Newry is palpable. All of us at Echlinville and Matt D’Arcy share the same sense of pride in our Co. Down roots and the role this part of the world played in Ireland’s proud whiskey heritage. With Matt D’Arcy, Dunville’s and Old Comber now under Echlinville’s guardianship, we look forward to putting Co. Down back on the world whiskey map.”

Matt D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey is coming soon to The Echlinville Distillery online shop. For trade sales inquiries please contactstephenm@echlinville.com

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