The beer and spirits giant says it has identified a ‘clear opportunity in Irish Whiskey to drive overall category growth via premiumization’, with Roe & Co created to reflect modern, contemporary luxury. Diageo says the new brand will focus on making Irish Whiskey more prominent in Europe’s booming cocktail culture.
The former Guinness Power House in Dublin, which is ‘just a stone’s throw away’ from where the 19th century George Roe and Co distillery once stood, will produce the new Roe & Co whiskey once converted.
The investment in the new whiskey distillery will total €25m ($27m) over three years, and, subject to planning approval, production will start in the first half of 2019.
Roe & Co
Roe & Co is named after 19th century whiskey maker George Roe, who is credited with helping build the golden era of Irish Whiskey at the time.
“Roe & Co is made from the finest hand-selected stocks of Irish malt & grain whiskies and aged in bourbon casks. It has the signature smoothness of Irish Whiskey with remarkable depth of flavor - a luxuriously smooth blend, with a perfect harmony between the intense fruitiness of the malt and the mellow creaminess of the grain whiskies.”
His distillery covered 17 acres on Thomas Street in Dublin and was once Ireland's largest distillery. “As neighbors for hundreds of years, George Roe and Co and Guinness were the two biggest names at the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling quarter,” says Diageo.
Also on Thomas Street, the former Guinness Power House will be converted to ‘build on this rich heritage’.
Roe & Co is non-chill filtered and bottled at 45% ABV. The first blend of Roe & Co will be available in select European cities from March 1, 2017, as part of Diageo’s Reserve portfolio.
Tanya Clarke, General Manager of Reserve Europe, Diageo, said, “This project highlights the opportunity we see to develop the premium segment of Irish Whiskey, and contribute to the category’s growth as it sees new investment and entrepreneurial interest.
“In crafting Roe & Co we explored the demands of today’s consumers for more premium drinking experiences and the desire of bartenders for an adaptable, flavorful whiskey that works in both traditional and new cocktails.”
Irish Whiskey: fastest growing spirit in the world
Michael Creed, Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, welcomed the announcement, saying that Irish Whiskey is a ‘true Irish success story’ that is seeing a return to its 19th century golden era.
Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing spirit in the world, and Creed points to an increase in global sales of more than 300% in the last ten years and record exports of over €400m ($432m), according to figures from the Irish Whiskey Association.
Diageo says the planned distillery will provide employment both during construction and operation, and will complement the country’s most popular tourist destination, The Guinness Storehouse. It will also contribute to the growing vibrancy of The Liberties, the home of Irish Whiskey during the original golden age of Irish distilling. “We are excited that the planned distillery will help revive the proud tradition of distilling in the Liberties,” added Diageo.