Old Bushmills Distillery

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Overview

The Old Bushmills Distillery is a distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. As of December 2014, it was in the process of transitioning from ownership by Diageo plc to Jose Cuervo. All of the whiskey bottled under the Bushmills whiskey brand is produced at the Bushmills Distillery and uses water drawn from Saint Columb's Rill, which is a tributary of the River Bush. The distillery is a popular tourist attraction, with around 120,000 visitors per year.

The company that originally built the distillery was formed in 1784, although the date 1608 is printed on the label of the brand – referring to an earlier date when a royal licence was granted to a local landowner to distil whiskey in the area. After various periods of closure in its subsequent history, the distillery has been in continuous operation since it was rebuilt after a fire in 1885.

Location and contact details

Location" Location: The Old Bushmills Distillery, 2 Distillery Rd, Bushmills BT57 8XH
Visitor Visit Type: Vistor Centre
Web" Web: https://www.bushmills.com
Twitter" Twitter: Bushmills Whiskey UK (@BushmillsUK)

Facts and figures

LocationCo. Antrim
Founded1784
OwnerCasa Cuervo

Opening Hours

WINTER HOURS (GMT)
Jan - Feb, Nov - Dec 2018

MON - SAT 10:00 - 16:45

SUN 12:00 - 16:45

Last tour commences at 15:30
Gift shop closes at 16:45

Distillery Closed:
Dec 23, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019

SUMMER HOURS (GMT)
March - Oct 2018

MON - SAT 9:15 - 16:45

SUN 12:00 - 16:45

Last tour commences at 16:00
Gift shop closes at 16:45

Distillery Closed:
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tours

Distillery Tour

£8

Reviews

Distillery Tour (10:00 on 22/09/2018)

I tried to tour Bushmill's on the first Saturday I arrived in Ireland, but all the tours were full. Well, after circling the whole of Ireland and arriving back in County Antrim again, I arrived back at Bushmills on my final Saturday and was waiting at their door when it opened (on the first Saturday I had arrived early-afternoon) and got a place on the second tour.

Bushmill's do not allow you to book a tour unless you are in a large group; if you intend to visit here, I'd recommend arriving for when they open and buy your ticket for a tour; you could arrive in the morning, buy a ticket for the afternoon and bounce up to Giant's Causeway or Dunluce Castle.

The tour was a good comprehensive one which covers all aspects from the mashing to the bottling. The only parts you don't see are the barley growing, malting, grain whiskey distillation and the blending (standard Bushmills is a blended whiskey).

This is actually common in most distilleries (very, very few malt their own barley; those who do maltings onsite, usually only malt a small amount of the barley they use); Bushmills use 250 tonnes of malted barley a week and can't malt that much onsite themselves.

At the end of the tour you've given a sample of the red Bush and can take your ticket to the bar for another sample of your choice (from the three blends and the 10 and 12 year olds; the 12 year old is only available at the distillery).

History

The area has a long tradition with distillation. According to one story, as far back as 1276, an early settler called Sir Robert Savage of Ards, before defeating the Irish in battle, fortified his troops with "a mighty drop of acqua vitae". In 1608, a licence was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips (Irish adventurer) by King James I to distil whiskey.

for the next seven years, within the countie of Colrane, otherwise called O Cahanes countrey, or within the territorie called Rowte, in Co. Antrim, by himselfe or his servauntes, to make, drawe, and distil such and soe great quantities of aquavite, usquabagh and aqua composita, as he or his assignes shall thinke fitt; and the same to sell, vent, and dispose of to any persons, yeeldinge yerelie the somme 13s 4d...

The Bushmills Old Distillery Company itself was not established until 1784 by Hugh Anderson. Bushmills suffered many lean years with numerous periods of closure with no record of the distillery being in operation in the official records both in 1802 and in 1822. In 1860 a Belfast spirit merchant named Jame McColgan and Patrick Corrigan bought the distillery; in 1880 they formed a limited company. In 1885, the original Bushmills buildings were destroyed by fire but the distillery was swiftly rebuilt. In 1890, a steamship owned and operated by the distillery, SS Bushmills, made its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to deliver Bushmills whiskey to America. It called at Philadelphia and New York City before heading on to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Yokohama.

In the early 20th century, the U.S. was a very important market for Bushmills (and other Irish Whiskey producers). American Prohibition in 1920 came as a large blow to the Irish Whiskey industry, but Bushmills managed to survive. Wilson Boyd, Bushmills' director at the time, predicted the end of prohibition and had large stores of whiskey ready to export. After the Second World War, the distillery was bought by Isaac Wolfson, and, in 1972, it was taken over by Irish Distillers, meaning that Irish Distillers controlled the production of all Irish whiskey at the time. In June 1988, Irish Distillers was bought by French liquor group Pernod Ricard.

In June 2005, the distillery was bought by Diageo for £200 million. Diageo have also announced a large advertising campaign in order to regain a market share for Bushmills.

In May 2008, the Bank of Ireland issued a new series of sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland which all feature an illustration of the Old Bushmills Distillery on the obverse side, replacing the previous notes series which depicted Queen's University of Belfast.

In November 2014 it was announced that Diageo was to trade the Bushmills brand with Jose Cuervo in exchange for the 50% of the Don Julio brand of tequila that Diageo did not already own. The deal was expected to be completed in early 2015.

Information correct as of 06/10/2018
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Old Bushmills Distillery, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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