The once world-famous whiskey brand, D’Arcy’s Old Irish Whiskey, has enjoyed a spectacular return after a century with launch retail sales topping £100,000 in the Christmas trading period.
Matt D’Arcy and Co was first established in 1817 in Newry, gaining a global reputation, before closing in 1918. The brand has now been revived by local businessman and historian Michael Mckeown.
“Our launch was planned for earlier in 2020, but with COVID-19 delays, we didn’t get to the local market until mid-November. We are delighted with the response from off licences and their customers. We are now stocked in over 70 outlets across Northern Ireland and hope to announce further stores in the coming weeks.”
“Our initial range includes some limited-edition bottles to celebrate our return. The Matt D’Arcy 17-year-old single malt, which was voted best Irish whiskey at two major international competitions in the USA last year, has already become a real collector’s item. If you are lucky enough, you may still pick one up from the few retailers who still have them. In addition, we brought out an Old Newry whiskey bottle with the tagline ‘since 1144 and before’ to commemorate the fact that Newry is the world’s oldest whiskey manufactory.”
This proof of this claim is laid out in the recently published “Matt D’Arcy and Old Newry Whiskies”, a history book which highlights documentary evidence showing that whiskey production in Newry can be traced back to before the foundation of the Cistercian Monastery founded by Royal Charter in 1144 AD.
The company’s longer-term plan is to re-establish a working distillery on the original Matt D’Arcy site on Monaghan Street in the heart of the city. The project will also include a visitor’s centre, Victorian bar and restaurant. Construction tenders are expected to be issued as Covid recedes but in the meantime D’Arcy’s intend to launch further products on the home market whilst exploring export opportunities.