April 15 2014

The Jameson Experience: The Jameson Whiskey Museum of Midleton, Cork

The Jameson experience was a very informative tour about Irish whiskey and the founder of Jameson. The building was first the site of an old distillery, founded by the Murphy brothers (of Murphy’s stout), and later became The Jameson Experience museum after renovations in 1992. The museum takes you through the process of distilling whiskey, starting with the malting, through to the mashing and the resulting liquid known as “wort.”

John Jameson and his family were pirate hunters and lived by the motto “sine metu,” meaning “without fear.” But after marrying Margaret Haig of the Scottish Haig family, well known distillers, he decided to set up a distillery on Bow Street. Jameson Whiskey was founded in Dublin in 1780 and by the turn of the century they produced 30,000 gallons annually. Jameson was exporting three star whiskey worldwide at this time and nine of the Jameson family members were on board. John Jameson the fourth, became managing director and Andrew Jameson, who was also governor of the Bank of Ireland, took over much of the business as it had become a publicly traded company. Andrew Jameson became a champion of pot still Distillation, a type of distillation used in whiskey making.

The Jameson Distillery, Midleton, Cork, with the Whiskey Pot Still on the left

The Easter Rising of 1916, caused extensive upheaval and damage to the city of Dublin, in turn affecting businesses. In the 20′s, Civil war broke out in Ireland and Andrew Jameson acted as “cease-fire intermediary,” becoming a member of the Irish senate. The 1930′s saw prohibition being lifted in the United States but the recovery of Jameson was a slow process as maturation of the whiskey took seven years. The distillery began to flourish again and in 1975 the company decided to move to Midleton, Cork to accommodate the increase in demand for its product. 

The tour is very comprehensive and it takes you through all the phases of whiskey making. There was also some use of up-cycling with the barrels being used as chairs, the building was very impressive with a lot of old machinery that were used outside – as well as inside the museum. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the area, especially for tourists interested in whiskey, whiskey making, and the Jameson family. It has been doing well, but the price of the tour is expensive considering that it was just that, a tour. However, there was a complimentary glass of Jameson whiskey with a choice of ginger ale and lime at the end!

An example of old machinery used in whiskey making in Middleton, Cork

Jameson whiskey is a triple distilled whiskey made originally on Bow Street, Dublin and today in Midleton, Cork. It has been and remains one of Ireland’s main exports. However, the question remains – Today, is the distillation of whiskey a lost Irish tradition?

Credit: Images by Olivia Dolan. Data linked to sources.

Olivia Dolan

Olivia has completed a B.A in Natural Science and an M.Sc in Environmental Resource Planning from Trinity College, Dublin. She has done some travelling in Asia and worked in South Korea for three years as an English Foreign Language Teacher. On returning to Ireland she decided to travel more; this time to Vancouver. Her main interests lie in up-cycling and community regeneration projects. Her blogs will deal mainly with her experiences relating to these themes - within the area of west Cork and around Cork city, Ireland.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 at 9:52 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, History/Preservation, Olivia Dolan, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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