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Teeling in talks to set up distillery at Harp plant

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Teeling in talks to set up distillery at Harp plant

Teeling in talks to set up distillery at Harp plant
August 19
18:00 2013

John Teeling, the veteran exploration to spirits entrepreneur, is in advanced talks to take over part of the Great Northern Brewery in Dundalk.

 

Known as the Harp Brewery locally, drinks giant Diageo had planned to close the facility, which employs about 50 people, making Teeling’s investment proposal even more attractive.

Teeling plans to reinvent the facility as an own-label and bulk distillery, which would operate along the same lines as his old Cooley Distillery, which he sold to American drinks firm Beam in 2011 for €73m.

The proposal would see the businessman invest millions in Dundalk to allow it supply both former customers of Cooley Distillery as well as help him launch a new Irish whiskey along with his two sons Jack and Stephen. The Teelings have previously said their own label whiskey business will be based in Dublin but the Sunday Independent has learned it will use Dundalk as a source of raw materials. In total, the family plans to invest €35m in the two locations.

Teeling is understood to have visited the Dundalk plant several times this year and he has met with local officials, according to sources, to discuss his plans.

Contacted for comment on Friday, Teeling said: “I really can’t talk. I genuinely can’t.”

Teeling located his former distillery on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth in 1987 after he converted an older potato alcohol plant.

Diageo announced its decision to close the facility in Dundalk as well as a sister plant in Kilkenny first in 2008 when it said it planned to centralise its beer production in St James’s Gate. It has been scaling back production ever since and is expected to finally close Dundalk sometime this year.

Teeling’s exploration interests are diverse and among the firms he has founded and chaired are Connemara Mining, Petrel Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold and West African Diamonds.

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