The original source of water for Matt D’Arcy Whiskey has been rediscovered in Newry city centre. The discovery was made after local historian and owner of Matthew D’Arcy & Company, Michael McKeown, found a map showing the site of a well on the property which had been in use as a distillery since the early 1780s. Historical documents show that a young Matthew D’Arcy commenced his business there in 1817.
That same location is now undergoing a significant regeneration project to the tune of £7.3 million after successful planning permission last year. The company is a member of Food NI.
After the employment of ancient diving techniques, a strong and plentiful flow of clear pure water has been tapped within feet of the original well.
The new Matthew D’Arcy & Company set up will boast a Whiskey Distillery, Bar, Restaurant and Visitor’s Centre in Newry city centre. It is expected to be a game changer for the hospitality sector in this part of the island of Ireland and will form an important component of the rapidly growing interest in whiskey tourism on both sides of the border.
Latest statistics show that consumption of Irish whiskey in the international marketplace is increasing year on year, with US sales alone showing a near 14 percent increase on the previous twelve months.
Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Matthew D’Arcy & Company said: “This is a wonderful discovery which connects the rich history of the Matt D’Arcy whiskey company to its future. To be able to cap this source of water so close to the same water used more than two centuries ago means that we will capture the flavour profile which made this whiskey so highly prized so long ago.”
“The provenance of the water sourced for whiskey distillation is of paramount importance and to say that the water we will use in the future production of our whiskey comes directly from our site really is something.”
“The entire 14,000 square foot regeneration project is moving forward at a strong pace and we hope to be opening the doors in mid-2020. Prior to that we will be bringing forward our whiskies that will focus on the super-premium market.”
Michael McKeown, owner and investor of D’Arcy’s Whiskey, said: “Through all the historical research we have carried out so far, we knew that there was a water source located on the property. I personally trekked the Derrybeg river from Monaghan Street to its source on the Camlough Mountain. It is obvious that it was not powerful enough to feed the scale of production that once was achieved in this distillery. Finding a well on an old map, we drafted in water diviners, expert hydrologists and drilling contractors to investigate. We then
concentrated on a defined area and soon drew up pure, fresh clean water from metres below the surface.”
“It was like a scene in a movie. There was the noise of the drill and then a few moments of silence before the water came gushing out of the ground. We will harness this fantastic resource and turn it into something remarkable to be tasted and savoured throughout the world.”