Found in the heart of Ireland in County Westmeath, the Kilbeggan Distillery is home to a lot of history as well as four different Whisky brands that includes Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore.
It dates all the way back to 1757 and has been in the hands of at least three different distilling families, the McManuses, the Codds and the Lockes.
It was expanded in 1794 by the Codd family. This was a prosperous time for Irish Whiskey and sales boomed.
However, the good times could not last long and the Codds soon found that their produce was no longer doing as well as it used to.
This was mostly due to the rise in the Temperance movement, or the Total Abstinence Movement, in 1838. This was a movement that saw many people swear off drinking alcohol completely.
As such, Kilbeggan became somewhat destitute. This was when the Locke family got involved. John Locke bought the distillery from the Codds and turned his hand to exporting it to England and New York as a way to overcome the sudden dry spell in Ireland.
Kilbeggan chugged along until the mid 1900s, when in 1957 it was shut for good. This was a combination of many things, such as two world wars, as well as the Irish War for Independence.
It was not the only distillery to be hurt in these events, as many of its peers shut their doors as well.
It wasn’t until 1987 when the Teeling family, famous already for opening the doors for the Cooley Distillery, adopted Kilbeggan into their portfolio.
They worked with the aim of rescuing many of the old distilleries that had been shut in previous decades and Kilbeggan now owes its success to their efforts.
Today the Kilbeggan is flourishing, with four brands to boast and a distillery they can show off.
They are particularly proud of their tours and offer four different options: Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Standard and Self Guided.
The Gold Medal Tour is a bargain at €26 and lasts an hour and a half. It gives visitors the chance to meet and greet some of the onsite distillers and visit the old warehouses.
They are also given the chance to sample four different drams in a tasting Masterclass, theKilbeggan 8 Single Grain, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Tyrconnell Single Malt and Connemara Peated Single Malt.
This gives you the chance to explore not only what Kilbeggan has to offer, but also what its other brands consist of.
Next in line is the Silver Medal Tour, which offers basically the same thing, only at a cheaper price of €14.50. It is fifteen minutes shorter and you only get to try three Whiskies in the Masterclass but for the price it’s not a bad deal!
The third tour on offer is the standard tour, which is usually taken by groups of 10 people and must be booked in advance. At only €8 per person for an hour long tour, this isn’t a bad choice.
Lastly we have the Self Tour, which is exactly what it says, a tour you give yourself. There are guides on offer in a range of languages and you can take in every bit of the distillery at your own pace.
At €9 it isn’t as cheap as the standard tour, but since you get to enjoy it for as long as you want, it sort of equals out.
As well as these tours, Kilbeggan also offers a Connoisseur Experience at €80 per person. This is a three hour “access all areas” tour guided by John Cashman, Kilbeggan’s Global Brand Ambassador.
Kilbeggan is certainly a distillery with plenty of history so whichever tour you decide on is sure to be informative!
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