John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (2023)

Old Kilbeggan Pure Pot Still Whiskey ad by Locke

Provenance: Kilbeggan Co Westmeath Dimensions: 32cm x 37cm

The Kilbeggan Distillery(Beforebrusna distilleryjLocke's still) it is airish whiskeydistillery inRio BrosnanoKilbeggan,county westmeath, Ireland. It is owned byhaz solar.

a littlestillDistillery, the distillation license dates from 1757, a copy of which can be seen at the distillery.

Like many Irish distilleries, Kilbeggan faced financial difficulties in the early 1900s and ceased operations in 1957. However, the distillery was later renovated and distillation resumed at the site in 2007.

The British Prime Minister is one of the well-known supporters of the distillery's whiskeysSenhor Winston Churchill, jMyles e Copalene, Irish playwright.

first years

The distillery was founded in 1757 by Matthew MacManus, who may have distilled elsewhere before Kilbeggan was founded.Although information about the distillery's early years is scarce, documentation indicates that the distillery operated with a 232-gallon still and annual production of 1,500 gallons in its early years.

In the early 19th century, the distillery was run by John and William Codd.In 1841 the distillery was put up for sale after the dissolution of the partnership between its then owners, William Codd and William Cuffee.The still at the time consisted of a brewery, a still with three stills (washer: 8,000 gallons; low still, #1: 2,000 gallons; low still, #2: 1,500 gallons), running room with five receivers, malting, Corn with capacity for 5,000 barrels and Oat Mills.Also included in the sale were 400 tons of coal and 10,000 cases of peat, reflecting the immense amounts of peat used in the still, so much so that hundreds of poor people were profitably employed cutting, building and preparing it in the town throughout the year.

Locke's still

In 1843, John Locke took over the still, under whose direction the still prospered.Locke treated his employees well and was well liked by his employees and the townspeople. Informal records show that, under Locke, the distillery made cabins available to its workers, either for rent or for purchase through some kind of internal mortgage scheme.Furthermore, at the onset of winter, all employees received a truckload of coal, the cost of which was subsequently deducted weekly from their wages.

Proof of the respect shown to it is an incident that occurred in 1866. The distillery stopped after an accident at the construction site that left an important piece of equipment, the steam boiler, inoperative. With Locke unable to pay for a replacement or obtain a loan, the distillery's future was in doubt.However, in a gesture of solidarity, Kilbeggan residents banded together and purchased a replacement kettle which they gave to John Locke along with the following public letter of thanks printed in various local newspapers at the time:

A speech by the people of Kilbeggan to John Locke, esq. Dear Sir, Please allow us, your fellow citizens, to offer you our deepest and most sincere condolences for your loss and disappointment over the recent accident at your distillery. Sincerely, while we mourn the accident that was blithely overlooked for the loss of life, we cannot help but rejoice in the long-awaited opportunity this gives us to say how much we appreciate its public and private value. We are aware that the restrictions imposed by recent legislation on this particular branch of Irish industry, with which it has been identified for so long, have had disastrous commercial consequences, as manifested in the long list of distilleries which now lie almost in ruins, and which a few years ago they were centers of industrial activity and provided paid employment for thousands of people; and we are convinced that Kilbeggan Distillery would have been included in the bad catalog long ago had it fallen into less energetic and enterprising hands. In that case, we would be forced to face the bleak picture of a large number of our population being unemployed during the time of year when employment is scarcest and, at the same time, most important to the poor. Whatever we owe him, we feel deeply indebted to him, for purely personal reasons, for keeping among us an industry which gives so extensive employment to our poor, and exerts such a beneficial influence on the prosperity of the world city. In conclusion, dear sir, we ask that you accept a new steam boiler to replace the damaged one, as proof, however insufficient, of our sincere respect and esteem for you; and please deliver it with a burning desire and fervent hope that it will continue to strengthen Kilbeggan Distillery's deservedly high and growing reputation for years to come.

In a public response commemorating the gift, which was also published in several newspapers, Locke thanked the people of Kilbeggan for their generosity, saying "...feels like the proudest day of my life...".A plaque commemorating the event now hangs in the distillery's restaurant.

In 1878, a fire started in the distillery's soaking room and quickly spread.Although the fire was extinguished within an hour, it destroyed a significant part of the front of the distillery and caused £400 worth of damage.Hundreds of gallons of new whiskey were also consumed in the fire; However, the distillery is said to have been saved from further physical and financial ruin by the quick response of the townspeople, who broke down the warehouse doors and helped roll thousands of barrels. of the aging spirit on the road to security.

In 1887 the distillery was visited byAlfred Barnard, a British writer, as research for his book The Whiskey Distilleries of the UK.By this time, the much larger still was run by John's sons, John Edward and James Harvey, who informed Barnard that the distillery's output had more than doubled in the past decade and that they intended to install electric lighting.Barnard noted that the distillery, which he called the "Brusna Distillery", was named after him.nearby river, is considered the oldest in Ireland.According to Barnard, the distillery occupied 5 acres and employed about 70 people, with the elderly and infirm retired or in care.At the time of his visit, the still was producing 157,200 test gallons a year, although it had the capacity to produce 200,000.The whiskey sold primarily in Dublin, England and "the colonies" was"still old', manufactured with four stills (two wash stills: 10,320/8,436 gallons; and two stills: 6,170/6,080 gallons) installed by Millar and Company, Dublin.Barnard commented that over 2,000 barrels of spirits were aging in the distillery's general stores at the time of his visit.

In 1893, the still was no longer privately owned and became a limited company trading as John Locke & Co., Ltd. with a share capital of £40,000.

rejection and closure

At the start of the 20th century, Kilbeggan, like many Irish whiskey distilleries at the time, entered a period of decline. This was due to the combined impact of loss and reduced market access.banishmentIn the United States, theTrade war with the British Empire, shipping difficulties during the world wars, and Irish government export quotas; as well as competition from blended Scotch whiskey and the interruption of production during theIrish War of Independence.

As a result, Kilbeggan had to stop producing new alcohol for seven years between 1924 and 1931, decimating the company's cash flow and finances.Most of the distillery's staff were laid off, and the distillery slowly sold off its stock of aged whiskey.Distilling resumed in 1931 after the end of Prohibition in the United States and for a time the distillery's finances improved, with a loss of £83 in 1931 turning into a modest profit of £6,700 in 1939.

In the 1920s, John's two sons, John 1920 and James 1927, died and ownership of the distillery passed to Locke's granddaughters Mary Evelyn and Florence Emily.By this time, however, the still was in need of repairs, as the turbulent economic conditions of the early 20th century meant that no investment had been made in a new factory since the 1890s.

In 1947, the Lockes decided to put the distillery up for sale. Though in disrepair, the distillery held valuable stocks of aged whiskey, a prized commodity in post-war Europe.A Swiss investor led by an Englishman named Horace Smith was offered £305,000.Their unspoken interest lay not in the business itself but in the 60,000 gallons of whiskey stash they intended to sell on England's black market at £11 a gallon, more than doubling their investment overnight.However, when they were unable to secure bail, the pair were promptly arrested and police. The Englishman turns out to be an imposter named Maximoe wanted by Scotland Yard.]Irish authorities put Maximoe on a ferry back to England for extradition, but he jumped overboard and escaped with the help of unknown accomplices.

An Irish opposition politicianOliver J Flanagan, later allegedly underparliamentary privilegethat government officialsit's a deerpolitical party were linked to the agreement, so impeachmentirish chief Eamon de Valeraand his son for accepting gold watches from the Swiss businessman.ANinvestigative courtdenied the accusations, but the damage contributed to the defeat of Fianna FáilWahl 1948.Furthermore, as the scandal remained on the front pages of Ireland for several months, interest from other investors in the distillery waned.

With no buyer found, the distillery continued operating with an average production of 120,000 to 150,000 test gallons per year and consumption of 15,000 to 20,000 barrels per barrel.In addition, investments were made in new plants and equipment, despite the high level of debt.However, the death knell for the distillery came in April 1952, when the Irish government introduced a 28% increase in excise duty on alcoholic beverages, causing a sharp drop in domestic whiskey sales.In November 1953 the distillery was unable to pay the tax to release the whiskey ordered for Christmas from the warehouse and production had to cease.Although distillation ceased, the company struggled until November 27, 1958, when a bond issued in 1953 that the distillery could not pay expired, forcing the bank to call the recipients. This marks the end of 201 years of distillation in the city.

In 1962, the distillery was bought for £10,000 by Karl Heinz Moller, a German businessman who owned an engine sales company in Hamburg.Moller made a handsome profit from the business by selling the whiskey stash (about 100,000 gallons, worth tens of thousands of pounds alone) and a rare Mercedes Benz owned by the distillery.To the horror of locals, Moller turned the still into a pigsty and smashed thousands of Locke pots (which would fetch a significant sum at auction today) to create a solid foundation for the concrete floor.

In 1969, the still was sold to Powerscreen, a company that sold Volvo wheel loaders, and in the early 1970s, stills and parchments were removed and discarded.

The distillery opens again

In 1982, nearly thirty years after the distillery's operations closed, the townspeople formed the Kilbeggan Preservation and Development Association. With funds raised locally, the association restored the distillery and reopened it to the public as a museum of whiskey distillation.

Then, in 1987, the newly openedCooley Distilleryacquired the assets of the Kilbeggan distillery, allowing Cooley to relaunch whiskeys under the Kilbeggan and Locke's Whiskey brands.Later, Cooley also took over management of the museum and began restoring a working still on the site. Cooley was aided in this by the fact that, since the distillery closed, each subsequent owner has faithfully paid the £5 annual fee to maintain the distillery's license.

In 2007, on the 250th anniversary of the founding of the distillery, distillation resumed at Kilbeggan. The official lighting of the stills was witnessed by direct descendants of the three families, the McManuses, the Codds and the Lockes, who have managed the distillery throughout its 200 year distilling history.In a nod to Kilbeggan's long history of distilling, one of the two stills installed in the restored still was a 180 year old still that was originally installed in the distillery.Old Tullamore Distilleryat the beginning of the 19th century.]It is the oldest working pot in the world still producing whiskey today.

In 2010, Kilbeggan returned to being a fully operational distillery with the installation of a mash tun and fermentation vats.


John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (1)

Garrafa “Kilbeggan Finest Irish Whisky”

Today the distillery is known asDistillery in Kilbegga, and includes a restaurant,The pantry restaurantand a 19th-century waterwheel that has returned to service. The still can also be powered by a steam engine, which works but is rarely used. It was installed to allow the distillery to continue operating during periods of water scarcity in the river.

Prior to Kilbeggan's resumption of operations, the three brands associated with the distillery: Kilbeggan, Locke's Blend and Locke's Malt were produced at the distillery.Cooley Distillerynocounty louth, before being transported to Kilbeggan for storage in a 200-year-old granite warehouse.However, following the resumption of operations at Kilbeggan, the new whiskey produced there has been mature enough for the market since 2014.

Since reopening, the distillery has released a Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, the first 100% whiskey distilled and aged on site since the restoration was completed. Double-distilled whiskey is made from a mixture of malt, barley and around 30% rye, which reflects the traditional practice of using rye, which was common in Irish distilleries in the 19th century but has since largely disappeared.

In late 2009 the distillery released small '3 pack' samples of their 'new spirit' in development at 1 month, 1 year and 2 years (in Ireland the distillate is aged for a minimum of 3 years). before it can legally be called "whiskey").

Among the nominees was the distillery's visitor centerwhiskey magazine2008 whiskey visitor attraction category icons.


  • John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (2)

    machines in the distillery

  • John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (3)

    Historic view of the distillery buildings

  • John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (4)

    Distillery building with sign on the roof

  • John Locke & Co Ltd Vintage mixed Irish whiskey label (5)

    View of the 1900's distillery.

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