Cooley Distillery Logo

Cooley Distillery

  • Ireland
  • European Distiller of the Year (2008 & 2009), International Wine and Spirit Competition – Distillery of the Year (2008), Malt Advocate Magazine – Distillery of the Year (2010)
Phone Number
  • +353 42 937 6102
  • Dundalk Rd, Castletowncooley, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland


Green Cooley Distillery building exterior with signage.

History of Cooley Distillery


Cooley Distillery, an Irish whiskey distillery, was established in 1987 on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, Ireland. The founder, John Teeling, transformed a former state-owned industrial potato alcohol plant into a whiskey distillery.

This innovative conversion marked the beginning of Cooley’s journey in the whiskey industry.

In its early years, Cooley Distillery focused on reviving traditional Irish whiskey styles, including single malt and peated whiskeys.

The distillery initially installed two column stills, a distinctive choice in an industry dominated by pot stills. This decision reflected Teeling’s vision to create unique whiskey profiles.

1998 was a significant year for Cooley as it received a trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) for outstanding quality.

This award was a testament to the distillery’s dedication to excellence and marked its first major international recognition.

Growth of Cooley Distillery

The growth journey of Cooley Distillery took a pivotal turn on 16 December 2011, when Beam Inc. announced plans to purchase the distillery for approximately $95 million (€71 million).

The acquisition was completed on 17 January 2012, bringing Cooley under the umbrella of Beam, which was subsequently acquired by Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan in 2014.

This acquisition by a major international spirits company marked a new chapter in Cooley’s history, expanding its global reach.

Following the sale of Cooley, John Teeling continued his entrepreneurial journey in the whiskey industry. He founded the Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk, while his sons, Jack and Stephen Teeling, established the Teeling Whiskey Company in Dublin.

They utilized stock acquired from Cooley under the terms of the sale agreement with Beam, further contributing to the Irish whiskey renaissance.

Throughout its history, Cooley Distillery has been known for its innovative approach to whiskey production. Unlike most Irish whiskeys, which are typically triple-distilled, Cooley’s products are generally distilled twice.

This method is believed to retain more flavor components, contributing to the distinct character of Cooley’s whiskeys.

Whiskies from Cooley Distillery

Cooley Distillery offers a range of whiskey types, including:


A blended whiskey, originally distilled at Kilbeggan Distillery, which Cooley acquired in 1987. It is known for its non-age-stated version, and also offers 15-year and 18-year aged versions.

Kilbeggan Single Grain

Previously marketed as Greenore, this single grain whiskey is made with corn and aged in Bourbon casks. It is available in several age statements, including 6, 8, 15, and 18 years.


A peated single malt whiskey, unique for its double-distillation process, as opposed to the more common triple-distillation in Irish whiskeys. It is aged in Bourbon casks and comes in various versions like single-cask, cask-strength, 12-year, and a high-peat version called “Turf Mór.”

The Tyrconnell

A single malt whiskey, The Tyrconnell brand was acquired by Cooley in 1988. It was originally produced by the old Watt’s Distillery, which closed in 1925.

2 Gingers

A blended whiskey founded in 2011 by Minnesota bar owner Kieran Folliard. The 2 Gingers Whiskey Co. was acquired by Beam Inc. a year after its initial release.



Awards Won by Cooley Distillery

  1. Over 300 Medals: Throughout its history, Cooley Distillery has won more than 300 medals, showcasing its consistent quality and excellence in whiskey production.
  2. European Distiller of the Year (2008 & 2009): Recognized as the top distiller in Europe for two consecutive years, highlighting its prominence in the European spirits industry.
  3. International Wine and Spirit Competition – Distillery of the Year (2008): This prestigious award underscores Cooley’s distinguished status in the global spirits community.
  4. Malt Advocate Magazine – Distillery of the Year (2010): Another significant accolade emphasizing Cooley’s exceptional quality and innovation in whiskey distillation.

Individual Product Awards:

  • Kilbeggan: Awarded the IWSC “Best in Class” in 2005, signifying its superior quality.
  • The Tyrconnell: Received an IWSC Gold Medal in 2004, demonstrating its excellence.
  • Greenore: Earned an IWSC Gold Medal and Best in Class in 2010, and was named World Whiskies Awards Best in Class in both 2011 and 2012, further solidifying Cooley’s reputation for producing top-notch spirits.

Cooley Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Cooley Whiskey Visitor Centre, located in Martin’s Pub in Riverstown, County Louth, offers an immersive experience into the world of Cooley whiskey.

Situated just a hundred meters from the Cooley Distillery, the Visitor Centre is a hub for whiskey enthusiasts wanting to delve into the award-winning Cooley Whiskey range.

Tour Offerings

Whiskey Museum & Visitor Centre: Established in 2011, the museum showcases the variety of Cooley Whiskey products, including Greenore, Tyrconnell, Connemara, and Kilbeggan whiskeys.

Tour Experience: The tour, catering to groups of 10 to 60 people, typically lasts about 2 hours. It includes a Cooley Whiskey tasting class, with the option of refreshments and food. The tour’s duration may vary slightly depending on the group size.

Special Tasting Packages: The Centre offers special whiskey tasting packages, particularly appealing to weekend party groups. The options include:

  • Cooley Whiskey tasting (without tour) at €7.00.
  • Cooley Whiskey Museum Tour with optional tasting included at €15.
  • Additional options for pre-booked tea/coffee and scone at €5.00 and pre-booked food at €15.

Educational Aspects

Distillation Process: Visitors learn about the whiskey-making process, from raw materials like Grain and Malting barley to the final whiskey product.

Maturation and Aging: The tour explains the ageing process, including how whiskey acquires its color and the role of casks over time.

Hands-On Demonstration: There’s a demonstration on how whiskey casks are made and maintained.

Unique Features

Bottle Your Own Whiskey: An exciting feature where visitors can bottle their own Greenore Single Grain Whiskey.

Location Advantage: The distillery’s proximity to the Slieve na gCloc river provides access to clean, pure water, essential for quality whiskey production.

Distillation Techniques: Cooley Distillery uses both Patent and Pot Stills for producing malt and grain whiskey, contributing to the unique flavors of its products.

Practical Information

Advance Booking: It’s necessary to book tours and tastings in advance.

Opening Hours: Martin’s Pub, where the Visitor Centre is located, is open from 1.00 pm to late on weekdays and from 12.00 pm to late on weekends.

Contact Information: Visitors can reach out at +353 (0) 42 937 6377 or +353 (0) 87 099 6419, and more information is available on their website.

The Cooley Whiskey Visitor Centre offers a comprehensive and engaging experience for whiskey lovers, combining educational aspects with hands-on experiences and tasting sessions, making it a must-visit destination on the Cooley Peninsula.

Flask & Barrel Review of Cooley Distillery

As someone who’s been around the block a few times with distillery tours, I’ve got to say, my visit to Cooley Distillery was pretty impressive. Nestled in the scenic Cooley Peninsula, this place isn’t just about the whiskey; it’s about the whole experience.

First off, the setting is just perfect. You’ve got these lush Irish landscapes that are a treat for the eyes, and the distillery itself has this welcoming, almost homely vibe. It’s like stepping into a whiskey lover’s dream.

Now, let’s talk about the tour. It was top-notch. I’ve seen my fair share of distilleries, but the folks at Cooley have their game on point.

The guide was knowledgeable and had this easy-going way of explaining things that made the whole process from grain to glass super clear. For a whiskey nerd like me, it was like being a kid in a candy store.

The tasting session was the cherry on top. I’ve had my fair share of whiskeys, but the flavors here were something else. The Connemara peated single malt was a standout for me – it had this unique character that you don’t often find in Irish whiskeys.

And getting to bottle my own Greenore Single Grain Whiskey? That was a collector’s dream come true.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say the tour felt a tad rushed when the group got a bit large. But honestly, that’s just me looking for something to critique. The overall experience was smooth, just like their whiskey.

In conclusion, Cooley Distillery is a must-visit for any whiskey enthusiast. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, there’s something here that’ll catch your fancy.

It’s not just about the drink; it’s about the passion and craft that goes into every bottle. Cooley, you’ve earned a fan!

What To Do Nearby Cooley Distillery

Exploring the vicinity of Cooley Distillery offers a rich blend of historical sites, natural beauty, and adventurous activities. Here’s a concise guide to the attractions nearby:

  • Hill of Faughart: This tranquil graveyard was once an Iron Age hill fort and offers stunning views across Louth, along with a small ruined medieval church and several historic sites​​.
  • Templetown Beach: Named after the Knights Templar, this sheltered beach is perfect for swimming, strolling, and kite surfing, offering unspoiled coastal views​​.
  • Slieve Foye: The highest mountain in Louth, offering picturesque views and various hiking trails, including the Slieve Foye and Barnavave Loops​​.
  • Carlingford Lough: Flanked by mountains, it’s a popular spot for visitors, featuring the Carlingford Lough Ferry for scenic trips across the water​​.
  • Proleek Dolmen: A Neolithic period portal tomb, located about 4.3 km northeast of Dundalk, it’s known for its impressive structure and local legends​​.
  • The Carlingford Greenway: A 7 km cycling and walking trail along the peninsula’s northern shoreline, offering stunning views and an eco-friendly way to explore the region​​.
  • Carlingford Lough Ferry: Provides a unique perspective of the surrounding landscapes, with summer cruises offering close views of the Haulbowline Lighthouse​​.
  • Carlingford Adventure Centre: Offers outdoor activities like archery, kayaking, rock climbing, and disc golf, ideal for adrenaline enthusiasts​​.
  • The Cooley Mountains: Known for their scenic beauty and as the setting for the epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, they offer a range of outdoor activities​​.
  • The Annaloughan Loop Walk: An 8 km forested trail providing views of the Cooley Mountains and Dundalk Bay, ending at a local pub for a rewarding meal​​.
  • Ravensdale Forest: A lush forest walk near the peninsula, offering a 2-hour trail that’s easy to follow and full of natural beauty​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Cooley Distillery?

Kingfisher Bistro: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429373716. Their address is Dundalk St, Liberties Of Carlingford, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. 

Carlingford Arms Pub & Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429373418. Their address is Newry St, Liberties Of Carlingford, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. 

Ferguson’s Bar Bistro: It has a rating of 4.7 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429376660. Their address is Gyles Quay, Riverstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland. 

What hotels are near Cooley Distillery?

Carlingford House: It has a rating of 4.8 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429373118. Their address is Dundalk St, Liberties Of Carlingford, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. 

McKevitts Village Hotel: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429373116. Their address is Market St, Liberties Of Carlingford, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. 

The Oystercatcher Lodge Hotel: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps.
For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +353429373922. Their address is Market St, Liberties Of Carlingford, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland.