McConnell’s Irish Whiskey, originally distilled in Belfast and one of the oldest in Ireland, has been launched in North America by Conecuh Brands, a leading New York-based drinks distribution business.
The brand has worked with Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk to recreate the historic whiskey, while work is being done on its new distillery in Belfast. The whiskey will be distilled at the old Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast when construction of a distillery is completed.
The Crumlin Road Gaol is not far from the original distillery site in Cromac St. The distillery will be located in the gaol’s A Wing. Once the building is complete, the new distillery will house production, ageing, a visitors’ centre and a shop.
Roy Danis, president and chief executive of Conecuh Brands, announced that after 90 years, Conecuh Brands will be returning McConnell’s Irish Whiskey to the US and Canadian markets.
“We’re resurrecting one of the greatest global brands of all time, McConnell’s Irish Whiskey,” Roy Danis said.
Originally established in Belfast in 1776 by two brothers, John and James McConnell, McConnell’s is believed to be the oldest whiskey brand ever to come from Ireland.
McConnell’s enjoyed great popularity in the US from the late 1800s right through the early part of the 20th century, when McConnell’s, like many Irish distilleries, ran into hard times as a result of Prohibition. Ultimately closing its Belfast Distillery in 1958, the brand went dorment.
“The opportunity to recreate a brand with such a rich and deep history has been incredibly rewarding,” Roy Danis added. “My entire team is so excited and humbled at the same time.”
McConnell’s Irish Whiskey is described as “a robust, smooth, whiskey with hints of vanilla, nutmeg and other spices, aged in American Oak barrels. It is a 42% ABV, 5- year-old blend,#.
The new package features a bottle shape inspired by a simple pill capsule, which harkens back to the original label, featuring three references from doctors who recommended the whiskey and used to prescribe it for medicinal purposes. The label is signature green with a metal plaque that reads J. & J. McConnell’s.
Based at Garden City, New York, Conecuh Brands is a fully integrated marketing and sales company, focused on developing high quality, super premium spirits brands. In addition to J. & J. McConnell’s Irish Whiskey, the company also owns the Clyde May’s whiskey portfolio.