The Connacht Distillery celebrated its first anniversary last weekend. It’s been an exciting year and the spirits are flowing
Although An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. officially opened the distillery in October of 2015, we still needed to complete construction on several important parts of the distillery building. That work is now done.
We’ve completed construction of our tasting room, which opened for visitors this past summer. We named the room the Mullarkey Bar in a nod to one of Directors Tom Jensen’s great-great uncle who spent some time in the Sligo Gaol for the crime of “illicit distillation” back in the 1890s. The name also reflects the fun and good conversation that fills the room. For those of us in America, you might remember Joe Biden famously telling Paul Ryan in the 2012 Vice Presidential debate that, “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.”
In keeping with the distillery’s combination of old and new, the Mullarkey Bar has an “industrial chic” feel. Cream-coloured wood paneling and tile line the walls, and rough-hewn beams cover the floor. A wood bar curves the length of the room and carries with it some significant Irish history. The bar was crafted from timber flooring reclaimed from the Boland’s Mill in Dublin, the site of a major confrontation between Irish patriots and British soldiers during the 1916 Easter Uprising. Other than the fine spirits which flow in the room, the Mullarkey Bar’s crowning glory is the large window which frames the view of the River Moy just beyond the distillery. It’s a lovely room—and that’s no malarkey.
Though not quite as exciting as the Mullarkey Bar, we created two separate rooms in the back of the distillery, requiring the construction of a two-story wall. The first room is our barrel room, or rick house as it’s called in the US, where we age the casks containing our flagship whiskey. We also use this room to hold other finished, bottled goods and empty barrels. The second room is our bottling room. We have several machines which perform a number of tasks, such as rinsing and filling the bottles, corking the bottles, and heat-sealing the bottles. Even with this automation, our bottling process still includes a number of manual steps, including the hand labeling of some bottles, transferring the bottles between machines, and placing the bottles in boxes by hand.
This is a working distillery, and we hope you stop by, visit us, learn a bit, and enjoy a glass of a Connacht spirit in the Mullarkey Bar.