By SAM BUTLER
Matt D’Arcy Irish Whiskey in Newry has won substantial business in Germany for its blended whiskeys.
The company, which successfully revived the historic Matt D’Arcy Irish whiskey brand from 1817, has just shipped a significant consignment of two products to a specialist whiskey distributor in Hamburg.
The order – D’Arcy’s biggest export success to date – follows an agreement last month with a premium whiskey distributor in France.
The historic whiskey company was revived by successful Newry businessman and historian Michael McKeown in 2019.
In addition, the business is lining up distributors in the US and Canada to increase global exports.
Mr McKeown is building a new distillery and visitor centre on the site of the earlier distillery which closed in 1918.
The deals in Germany and France are the first for the iconic D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey in over century and are the outcome of a marketing drive in Britain, Ireland and other parts of Europe launched by the distillery at the end of last year. A distribution deal has also been agreed in Britain.
The new distribution deals are for two of D’Arcy’s blended Irish whiskeys – the four-year-old and the award-winning 10-year-old.
In addition to winning acclaim for its 10-year-old at major international awards, the company’s super-premium 17-year-old single malt was named Best Irish Whiskey at the influential San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2020.
Mr McKeown, commenting on the first export successes, says: “These distribution deals are a tremendous boost for our first Matt D’Arcy whiskeys so early in the development of the revived business and our initial portfolio of products.”
Describing the agreements as “major milestones for us,” Mr McKeown continues: “We are immensely encouraged by the positive feedback from the new distributors about our whiskeys and look forward to supporting them in marketing the products and to growing the business with them and other distributors we’ve identified.”
The agreements came from direct approaches by the company to potential distributors in Europe pinpointed in its extensive market research last year. “We then contacted them and sent samples for them to experience,” Mr McKeown explains. “We followed up to discuss and several agreements followed from premium whiskey specialists in Europe,” he adds.
The reintroduction of the historic Newry whiskeys had also resulted in business with hundreds of bars and off-licences outlets here.
Mr McKeown adds that the new products were also benefitting from the “huge international interest in Irish whiskey” and the sector was enjoying “fantastic worldwide sales growth over the last decade”.
Matt D’Arcy’s super premium 17-year-old single malt rum cask finish was also acclaimed at the Las Vegas International Whiskey Competition.
The 10-year-old blended port finished whiskey picked up gold and silver medals at these awards too.
The company aims to re-establish a working distillery on the original Matt D’Arcy site on Monaghan Street in the heart of Newry city.
The project will also include a visitor’s centre, Victorian bar and restaurant. Construction tenders are expected to be issued this summer.