IRELAND – The Metairie-based privately held American alcoholic beverage company, Sazerac Company, has announced that it will acquire the Lough Gill Distillery to expand the distillery’s capacity and footprint.

 The acquisition will also enable the alcohol company to create a ‘world-class whiskey facility and a tourist hub.

Additionally, through its acquisition of Hazelwood Demesne Limited, Sazerac will continue the development of luxury single malt Irish Whiskey Athrú and also take up the brands’ global distribution.

Sazerac intends to ‘significantly’ grow the footprint of Lough Gill Distillery by increasing the distillery’s capacity, adding warehousing capacity, and expanding production and bottling lines.

All current Lough Gill Distillery team members will remain with the business, and it is expected that Sazerac will increase employment after the expansion.

In tandem with the acquisition, Lough Gill Distillery has also announced that former Bushmills Master Blender, Helen Mulholland, is joining the team.

Helen will lead Lough Gill Distillery’s team in the pursuit of crafting and blending what will become Ireland’s luxury single malt whiskey, according to the company.

She will take responsibility for the selection and management of the casks for Athrú single malt whiskey, nurturing the Athrú portfolio of premium aged single malts, as well as new product development.

David Raethorne, the founder of the Lough Gill Distillery, added: “This is a major announcement for Sligo and a vote of confidence in the potential for Sligo to become a major player in the booming global Irish whiskey market.

The acquisition will enable Lough Gill Distillery to fully develop as a world-class visitor destination and will have significant long-term economic and tourism benefits for Sligo, which, for me, was always a personal goal.”

He added that the maintenance and preservation work undertaken to date on Hazelwood House (a house of national importance) has played an essential part in saving it from dereliction.

In an effort to make Ireland a tourist hub, Sazerac has already restored historic sites such as its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky and its Sazerac House in New Orleans.

The company pledges to develop the 100+ acre Lough Gill Distillery site, the original demesne of Hazelwood House, to create a ‘world-class whiskey facility and visitor attraction, making it one of the most important tourism centers in the West of Ireland’.

It is hoped the site will welcome up to 150,000 visitors annually and will create a homeplace for Sazerac’s Irish Whiskeys, Paddy and Michael Collins.

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