WILLIAM Grant & Sons is to assume control of the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre and a spokesperson confirmed that staffing levels at the centre will remain the same and under the management of Mary Hensey and her team.
William Grant & Sons Ltd, the owner of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey is to turn the Centre into a modern, top-class brand experience, which will ultimately attract up to 40,000 tourists annually to Tullamore and the Midlands region. The redeveloped Brand Experience Centre will be launched in time for the 2012 tourist season.
“This is an important step in our long-term vision for Tullamore Dew. It’s the second largest selling Irish whiskey in the world, and is an export brand with a global profile. We want those that love Tullamore Dew to be able to come and see its true home, with a first class visitor experience that will deepen their engagement with the brand. We will build on the success of the Heritage Centre to date and create a key attraction for the region”, said Tullamore Dew Global Brand Director Shane Hoyne, who added that the Centre would be marketed around the world as destination for enthusiasts of Irish whiskey.
Tullamore Town Council Director of Services Declan Kirrane said the announcement represented an exciting investment and development in the town’s infrastructure and amenities.
“We look forward to working with William Grant & Sons on the development of a new visitor experience that will not only enhance the story of the brand and its engagement with whiskey fans, but will also add a new dimension to the tourism offering here in Tullamore. Tourism is one of our key national industries and it is very good news to have this development locally.”
Outgoing Chairman of Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre Tadhg O’Brien said the new development held great promise for tourism in the town. “We are very proud of the work that has gone into the Heritage Centre over the last few years to make it the success it has become. The investment by William Grant & Sons represents a new chapter in the life of the brand and its relationship with its true home of Tullamore. We look forward to the creation of a world class visitor experience here and to the ever growing profile of Tullamore Dew and the town on the world stage. We pay tribute to William (Bill) Jaffray, founding chairman, who together with his colleagues at the time, had the foresight to bring a number of parties together and provide and attraction bringing visitors to the midlands from all over the world,” said Mr O’Brien.
Outgoing members of the board include Gabriel Conlon, Darrell Hooper, Cllrs Molly Buckley, Tommy McKeigue and Declan Harvey, Amanda Pedlow, Paul Devaney, Joe O’Brien, Mary Lynch, Declan Kirrane, Shane Hoyne and Gordon Paul.
The 104-year old building, originally the bonded warehouse for the distillery, is rich in architectural character and ideally located on the banks of the Grand Cana. The new Centre will include state-of-the-art facilities, a Whiskey Tour, interactive Tullamore Dew history and expert tasting sessions catering to beginners and aficionados alike. It is also envisaged that the new Centre will be fully incorporated into its canal-side location, maximising the benefits of this amenity for visitors and townspeople.
Mr Hoyne paid tribute to Board and staff of the Centre and the people of Tullamore for their “huge contribution” to the success of the Heritage Centre to date. He said that William Grant & Sons intended to build on this success, drawing on its own global expertise, and working closely with the new Local Advisory Committee established to help guide the development of the new Visitor Experience.
“Visitor Centres are very important to William Grant & Sons because they help bring our brands to life. In Scotland we were the first company to open our distillery, at Dufftown, to public tours back in 1969 and the Glenfiddich tour is among the most popular in the country. We continue to work very closely with the local community there also. We will be bringing all this expertise to the Tullamore Brand Experience Centre and look forward to creating a landmark tourist attraction for the town and the Midlands”, said Mr Hoyne.