Kilbeggan Distillery (formerly Brusna Distillery and Locke's Distillery) is situated on the River Brosna in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, Ireland. It is owned by Beam Suntory.

A small pot still distillery, the licence to distil dates to 1757, a copy of which can be seen in the distillery.

Location and contact details

Location" Location: Old Kilbeggan Distillery, Lower Main Street Kilbeggan Westmeath
Visitor Visit Type: Vistor Centre
Telephone" Telephone: +353 57 933 2134
Web" Web:
Twitter" Twitter: Kilbeggan Whiskey (@Kilbeggan)

Facts and figures

LocationCo. Offaly
OwnerBeam Suntory


Apprentice Tour


Guided tour of Kilbeggan Distillery with a Masterclass in tasting of three Irish whiskeys from the Kilbeggan Distilling Company. If you are the designated driver, they are happy to provide a non-alcoholic beverage for you at the end of your tour.

From November to March inclusive, Apprentice Tour Tours at 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 2.30pm.
From April to October inclusive, Apprentice Tour Tours at 10am, 11am 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 4.30pm

Tour Time (approx): 1h

Distillers Tour


Guided tour of Kilbeggan Distillerry with a visit to the old warehouses and a meet and greet with the onsite distillers, finished with a Masterclass in tasting of four unique Irish whiskeys, Kilbeggan Single Grain, Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, Tyrconnell Single Malt and Connemara Peated Single Malt. If you are the designated driver they are happy to provide a small taster size for you to enjoy when you return home.

From January to March inclusive, Distillers Tour starts at 12 noon.
From April to October inclusive, Distillers Tour starts at 1.30pm.
From November to 23rd December inclusive, Distillers Tour starts at 12 noon.

Tour Time (approx): 1h 30min

Connoisseur Experience


Join John Cashman, Kilbeggan Global Brand Ambassador, on an exclusive Access All Areas tour of Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. Take your time walking through Ireland’s illustrious distilling history with the expert. Following on into the present and meet with our distilling team as they take you through a day in the life of a distiller in Kilbeggan. Join them for an appetizing lunch in the wonderful on site Pantry restaurant ending with a delicious complete tasting of their Irish whiskey core portfolio range as you discover the best kept secret in Irish whiskey. As a finale, they will take you to their warehouse where you will pull your own 200ml sample from one of our aging cask to take home.

Additional Details:

Tour is limited to 12 participants
Lunch is included
The visitor will bottle their own 200ml bottle of cask strength whiskey with a valinch
Additional tastings to include Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Tyrconnell 16 & Connemara 12yr old
Please allow 3.5 hours at the distillery for this tour. Tour starts at 12.30pm
Connoisseur Tour dates for 2018 available are as follows:
Friday 27th April
Friday 25th May
Friday 29th June
Friday 27th July
Friday 31st August
Friday 28th September
Friday 26th October
Tour Time (approx): 3h


Distillers Tour (13:30 on 12/09/2018)

You book this distillery by way of an online form, but pay on arrival. After emailing to book I recieved a response that the distillery tour might not go-ahead as it needs at least three people and I was the only one. I checked if there were other dates available when I might be able to change to, but, unfortunately, none of the other dates were suitable due to either other bookings or being nowhere near.

I decided to chance it timewise and replied to the email again the day before to check and was told to go through and the tour would be on.

As always I arrived a little early, paid and browsed the shop while I waited. A number of other people arrived for tours, but it turned out I was the only one on the Distillers Tour that day.

This tour is a more in depth on than the Apprentice Tour. You start with a tour of the old distillery, which is still kitted out with the old machinery from before it closed down in the 1950s. This equipment could be reconditioned and restarted. The waterwheel is still working and there are plans to potentially revive this part of the distillery in future. Something which is only now being discussed as feasible due to the takeover by Beam Suntory. It was really interesting to see all of the old kit; in some cases you can see similar in Scotland in distilleries which have not been modernised at all (such as The Glenturret (Famous Grouse) and Royal Lochnagar).

After seeing the old distillery, you move onto the new boutique distillery which is where the current Kilbeggan spirit is distilled. This area is still in the old buildings, and the stills themselves are very small old ones.

At the end of the tour, the tasting happens in a small bar area (tall stool again) where you sample the Kilbeggan Single Grain, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Tyrconnell Single Malt and Connemara Peated Single Malt.

These are all very nice and the first time I had tasted any of them; a peated Irish whiskey is unusual as athe vast majority of them are unpeated.

This tour was probably the closest wein Ireland to a Scottish distillery tour; probably because they are owned by Beam Suntory who also own Auchentoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch and Laphroaig.


The distillery was founded in 1757 and, by 1798, was in the hands of Matthias McManus, whose son was executed in Mullingar due to the part he played in the United Irishmen rebellion of that year.

John Locke took over the distillery in 1843, and it passed down to his granddaughters Mary Evelyn and Florence Emily in 1943. The economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s took its toll on Locke's. In 1947 it was put up for sale and the successful bidder, the Transworld Trust, involved fraudsters from Switzerland and Austria. Oliver J. Flanagan alleged under Oireachtas privilege that Fianna Fáil politicians were linked to the deal; a tribunal of inquiry discounted the allegations but the damage contributed to Fianna Fáil's defeat in the 1948 election. On 19 March 1954 production ceased at the distillery. It closed completely in 1957 and the building began to fall into disrepair. Twenty five years after its closure, the community of Kilbeggan restored the distillery and opened it to the public as a whiskey distillery museum. Cooley Distillery bought the license to produce Kilbeggan and Lockes Whiskey, and later took over the museum along with opening a new working distillery in Kilbeggan.

Today the distillery is known as Kilbeggan Distillery, and includes a restaurant, The Pantry Restaurant, and a 19th-century waterwheel that is in working condition. The distillery can also be powered by a steam engine, which is in working condition but rarely used. It was installed to allow the distillery to continue operating in times of low water on the river.

Whiskey production recommenced in 2007, the year in which the distillery celebrated its 250th Anniversary. One of the two Copper Pot Stills that is being used in Kilbeggan was made in the early 1800s and is the oldest working Pot Still producing whiskey in the world today. It was once used in the distillery in Tullamore. In 2010 Kilbeggan became a fully operational distillery once again, with the installation of a mash tun and fermentation vats. Although the whiskey now in production at Kilbeggan will not be ready for sale until 2014, the three brands associated with the distillery—Kilbeggan, Locke's Blend and Locke's Malt—have, for many years, been made at the Cooley Distillery in County Louth from where they are transported to Kilbeggan to be stored in a granite warehouse over 200 years old. In late 2009, the distillery released small '3-pack' samples of its still-developing "new make spirit" at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years of age. (In Ireland, the spirit must be aged a minimum of three years and one day before it can legally be called "whiskey.")

The distillery's visitor centre was among the nominations in Whisky Magazine's Icons of Whisky visitor attraction category in 2008.

Information correct as of 05/10/2018
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Kilbeggan Distillery, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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