West Cork Distillers was formed in 2003 by childhood friends, John O’Connell, Ger McCarthy and Denis McCarthy at a time when it made very little economic sense to do so. The early years were far from glamorous, operating in a room at the back of Denis’ house in Union Hall with two small stills we bought from a schnapps producer in Switzerland. In 2014, we moved to a new distillery in Skibbereen.
We currently operate out of a 12.5 acre site on Marsh Road, with a distillation capacity of 4mln litres of pure alcohol. With distributors across the globe, our award-winning West Cork Irish Whiskey is now sold in almost 70 countries. Case sales have risen considerably every year for the past six years and our staff has grown to over 80 people, with the majority based locally in West Cork.
We want to make Irish whiskey accessible. We will continue to expand our operation but maintain our Irish ownership and stay true to our West Cork heritage. Our new distillery and visitor centre will open in 2020, making us the largest, wholly Irish owned distillery in the country. Meanwhile, more jobs, new products and additional warehouses are being added to meet rising demand.
Distilling began in a small room at the back of Den’s house in 2003, and it wasn’t until 2014 that the operation moved to Market Street in Skibbereen. As the business expanded, much of the distillery equipment was hand built as needed, such as the Rocket, reported to be ‘the fastest still in the world’ at the time. In 2020, the new distillery at Marsh Road, Skibbereen will open, making us the largest, wholly Irish owned distillery in the country.
* Eight pot stills and two column stills produce almost 4.5 million litres of alcohol (LPA).
* Five bottling lines operate 24 hours per day, six days per week. Every hour, there are 2,000 bottles processed on site
* Seven warehouses, which are all located on site at the distillery in Skibbereen, store up to 55,000 casks as needed.