Pat Cooney has been a pillar of the Irish drinks industry for over 40 years and now he’s finally realising his ambition of building his own whiskey distillery – and he’s giving investors an opportunity to be a part of the story.
When Pat Cooney sold part of his drinks company, the Gleeson Group, in 2012, he took the opportunity to set up his own whiskey distillery, Boann Distillery, in Drogheda. Always a canny businessman, along with the distillery, he set up a craft brewery, and with the two companies he kept from Gleeson, he now has a stake in each of the pillars of the Irish drinks industry: whiskey and white spirits, cream liqueurs, craft beers and craft ciders.
“Making whiskey is a capital intensive business,” says Cooney. “It’s three to five years before you can actually bottle and sell anything called whiskey. You have to wait a long time to see a return so you need to be in the business for something other than that. You need to have an ambition and a passion for it. But the potential is enormous – Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirit in the world. And after 60 years or so, I’m bringing distilling back to Drogheda in a state of the art building in an iconic setting at the gateway of the Boyne Valley, one of the most historical and mythological heritage sites in Europe. The distillery and visitor centre will also make a significant contribution to the development of the growing tourist industry in the Boyne Valley and Ancient East.”
At Boann Distillery, the traditional art of distilling whiskey is done in a thoroughly modern glass building and the distilling itself is a clever mix of the traditional and modern. “We’ve added a technological twist to our pot stills – the lyne arms have nanotechnology, which exposes the spirit to six times more copper than the traditional still. We also have reflux cooling in the necks, which lets us control the reflux, allowing us to make different styles of whiskey in the same still. The whole process is computer controlled. Some people still have great faith in the old manual system but we have computer management from start to finish ensuring a consistently high quality from one distillation to the next.”
Boann Distillery is setting aside the first 500 barrels of whiskey distilled as a ‘lifestyle investment’. Investors can go to the distillery, distill, barrel and mature their own whiskey; decide which barrels to finish it in, what whiskies to use to make their own blended whiskey. Boann will also bottle a number of bottles each year for the investor to personally enjoy or use as the ultimate personal gift. In 3, 10 or 15 years or anytime in-between, each investor will have his own unique whiskey with his own signature label and style of whiskey. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the great story of the renaissance of Irish Whiskey.