Powers Irish whiskey has a fascinating history since being established in 1791 by James Power on John Lane in Dublin, Powers is one of Ireland’s biggest selling single pot still Whiskies.
Where they began
But it had much humbler beginnings, having started as an enterprise creating 6,000 gallons of spirit behind James’s pub. They soon became very popular and the business grew in size over the next three decades.
James’s son John had been made a partner in 1821 and the brand was renamed James Powers & Son. At this time they had around three stills but were not using them to full capacity. After the 1823 Excise Act, the brand really flourished, and John purchased a new 500 gallon still to meet demand.
They began to increase in popularity and prestige, with John’s son, also called John, being awarded the Power Baronetcy of Edermine in County Wexford, a title that was created especially for him and awarded in 1841.
In 1871 the distillery underwent a huge expansion and increased its capacity up to 900,000 gallons. They were becoming massively successful and almost rivalled Jameson’s.
Their distillery was impressive and one of the most efficient at the time, covering 6 acres of land, with 17 warehouses on site.It stretched from Thomas Street to the Quays at the River Liffey.
What is perhaps most interesting about the distillery is that they had their own dedicated fire department. This was not uncommon at the time, and Guinness and Bass both had similar departments.
Leading the Way
In 1886 they hit milestone when Powers Irish whiskey became the only Dublin distillery to bottle their own Whiskey. They also led the industry in introducing varying sizes of bottles, releasing their 71 ml “Baby Power” in 1900.
Powers have continued to develop and grow their brand and up until the recent boom in interest in Irish Whiskey, they were one of only a handful of brand still being produced in the country.
In 1975 they moved from their distillery in Dublin to Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork. They kept the Johns Lane Distillery open for a year after Midleton had been opened as an “insurance” policy, but when it proved itself, Johns Lane was mostly demolished and equipment moved to the new facility. Interestingly, parts of the distillery were actually incorporated into the National College of Art & Design, where they were given protected status.
Today they are still one of the best known and respected Irish Whiskey brands and Powers Irish whiskey started to expand their range further over the past decade or so, introducing Powers Johns Lane in 2011 and Powers Signature in 2013.
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