Hazelwood Demesne Limited, owner of the Lough Gill Distillery, on the shores of Lough Gill in County Sligo, Ireland, has been acquired by the Sazerac Company, one of the world’s largest distilled spirits companies with premium brands such as Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Paddy Irish Whiskey, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, and Southern Comfort.
The Sazerac Company, known for taking historic sites such as its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky and its Sazerac House in New Orleans and restoring them to become world class operations, will fully develop the 100+ acre site, the original demesne of Hazelwood House, to create a world-class whiskey facility and visitor attraction, making it one of the most important tourism centres in the West of Ireland.
Once complete, Lough Gill Distillery hopes to welcome up to 150,000 visitors annually and will create a homeplace for Sazerac’s Irish Whiskeys, Paddy and Michael Collins.
Additionally, Sazerac will significantly grow the footprint of Lough Gill Distillery through increasing the distillery’s capacity, adding warehousing capacity and expanding production and bottling lines. All current Lough Gill Distillery team members will remain with the business, and it is expected that Sazerac will increase employment after the expansion. As part of the acquisition, Sazerac will continue the development of the Athrú brand, including global distribution.
Mark Brown, president and Chief Executive Officer of Sazerac, said: “With its rich history of distilling and storytelling, Ireland is an ideal homeplace for our whiskey business to flourish. In particular, the history of the Lough Gill Distillery, dating back to the 18th century, will be an integral keystone in the restoration and storytelling of this site.
“We look forward to preserving the history, delighting our future visitors by the stories we share, and further expanding the growth opportunities for Paddy, Michael Collins and Athrú Whiskeys.”
David Raethorne, founder of the Lough Gill Distillery, said: “This is a major announcement for Sligo and a vote of confidence in the potential for Sligo to become a major player in the booming global Irish whiskey market. The acquisition will enable Lough Gill Distillery to fully develop as a world-class visitor destination and will have significant long term economic and tourism benefits for Sligo, which, for me, was always a personal goal.
“In addition, the maintenance and preservation works undertaken to date on Hazelwood House (a house of national importance) have played an essential part in saving it from dereliction. This acquisition will ensure that Hazelwood House will be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come, another key objective of the project.
“The Sazerac Company announcement is a culmination of seven years of hard work and determination by the Board of Lough Gill Distillery and the wider team, delivering on our original 2015 vision, when we acquired the site. I would like to formally acknowledge the support of Sligo County Council and its CEO Martin Lydon, which was a key driver in the decision for Sazerac to invest in Sligo.”
In tandem with the acquisition, Lough Gill Distillery has also announced that former Bushmills Master Blender, Helen Mulholland, is joining the team.