Persse’s Distillery

Wed, Jul 18, 2018

For much of the 19th century, the Persse family ran one of the most successful distilleries in Ireland. Their product became world famous. They were major contributors to the industrial life of Galway and provided much needed employment. In addition to their staff, they were also supplied by a number of artisans working in the Nuns Island area — coopers, cork manufacturers, printers, carters, case makers, etc.

It is not known where their bottles were made, but the Straw Envelope Factory produced straw woven containers into which the bottles fitted neatly and were thus protected. Because of the annual output of 400,000 gallons, and also the length of time the whiskey remained in storage, it was necessary to lease extra storage space outside the distillery. One report in 1900 estimated that the company had one and a half million gallons of whiskey in bond, and that the entire distillery complex alone was over an estimated seven acres.

Rural Galway also benefited from the business as the distillery used all local grain in the manufacturing process. Persse’s insisted on using the finest ingredients for their whiskey, and as a result the barley market in Kinvara grew and thrived. Persse would arrive in Kinvara with a large number of his staff and there were times when his boat was loaded with 200 tons of barley for the journey back to Galway

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