Whiskey Business

Two Brothers Are Breathing New Life Into A Centuries-Old Family Business
Jack and Stephen Teeling sample some of the distillery's latest releases in the Teeling Whiskey Distillery Café.
Jack & Stephen Teeling
Owners & Co-Founders, Teeling Whiskey Company

You could say that brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling have whiskey running through their veins. Their clan’s passion for distilling goes back generations to 1782 when one of their ancestors, Walter Teeling, opened the family’s first distillery in the freewheeling Liberties district. After a successful run for the better part of two centuries, the operation was eventually sold off to the Jameson family who had by then cornered the Irish whiskey market, and subsequently closed due to a decline in global demand for Ireland’s national spirit.

More than 230 years later, the Teelings are back at the stills again, carrying on the family legacy of craft distilling with the establishment of the Teeling Whiskey Company, and supplying an international clientele of top mixologists with small-batch Irish whiskeys made at the first new distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years.

A hand-stenciled timeline at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery explains the history of Irish whiskey in Dublin.
The End Of An Era
And A New Beginning

Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, and Dublin-produced bottles accounted for 60% of the global market. But after the Irish Civil War ended in 1923, a decade of prohibition ensued. And later, with epic trade restrictions placed on alcohol exports, the Fair City’s distilleries began drying up, with the last operating producer closing its doors for good in 1976.

A few years later, in 1987, after writing his thesis at Harvard University on the decline of Irish whiskey and the rise of Scotch, John Teeling, Jack and Stephen’s father, decided to get back into the family business, opening the Cooley Distillery in the city’s northern outskirts at a time when only two whiskey producers were left in all of Ireland.

Today, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery stands just 100 meters from the original Teeling Distillery, founded in 1782 by Walter Teeling.
A Renewed Spirit
Reviving The Family Business

The Cooley Distillery brought small-batch production and innovative whiskey-making techniques back to Ireland in the late 1980's, and the Teeling brothers cut their teeth at their father’s stills, learning the business and refining their palates on his product, until 2011 when Cooley was sold to Beam International (now Beam Suntory), the parent company of Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, for $95 million.

But Jack and Stephen weren’t ready to leave their whiskey behind just yet. Considering the family’s heritage, they decided to form their own company and revived the family trademark of independent, craft distilling with 16,000 casks of aged Cooley whiskey purchased from Beam during the sale.

The Bang Bang Bar, inside the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, serves tasting flights and whiskey cocktails using the entire Teeling whiskey portfolio.
Perfect Pours
At The Teeling Whiskey Company

Today the Teeling Distillery is located just 100 meters from Walter Teeling’s first stills, and has the distinction of being Dublin’s only operating distillery. It has become a destination for whiskey lovers and avid tasters looking to experience the sound, smell, taste, and feel of an operational urban distillery. After a tour of the premises, the brothers recommend a drink in the distillery’s Bang Bang bar, (named after a colorful character from the Liberties district), which serves up a variety of cocktails and tasting flights with Teeling’s complete portfolio of award-winning Irish whiskeys, just steps from where the contents of each bottle was slowly aged to perfection.

Local Recommendations

Explore Dublin With Jack & Stephen Teeling

From Dublin’s legacy of literary pubs, to a local folk museum, traditional Irish dining, and a Gaelic sporting adventure, read on for Jack and Stephen Teeling’s insider guide to Dublin.

Dublin’s Historic Literary Pubs

A Bar Crawl In The Footsteps Of Ireland's Renowned Authors

Kehoe’s (9 S. Anne St.; +353-1-677-8312), near Grafton Street, is an authentic Irish pub dating back to 1803. And nothing much has changed inside since then: the Victorian-inspired interiors, completed at the end of the 19th century, feature stained-glass doors, ornate curtains, and a dark mahogany bar that recall the days when local novelists, poets, and playwrights like Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, and Flann O’Brien gathered at the bar to collaborate and commiserate over a glass of whiskey, or several.

Dublin has a long history of literary pubs, and much like at Kehoe’s, Irish authors have been convening over pints at The Palace Bar (21 Fleet St.; +353-1-671-7388), since 1823. During the 1940's and '50s, The Palace Bar became the preferred hang out of the Fourth Estate thanks to the patronage of R. M. “Bertie” Smyllie, then editor of the Irish Times, and countless other editors, correspondents, and newsmen.

Today, you’ll find the pub's whiskey aficionados at the Palace's dimly lit upstairs bar, whose walls are lined with display cases of 100% Irish bottles. Be sure to try the house’s single malt.

Whiskey & Cigars

Discover A Perfect Pairing

For 135 years, through four generations, world wars, and recessions, the James Fox Cigar & Whiskey Store (119 Grafton St.; +353-1-677-0533), the oldest family-owned cigar shop in the world, has been the place for Dubliners to find handmade premium pipes, tobacco, and whiskey products. Particularly special are the shop's vintage 1984 Partagas Lusitanias, and Romeo y Julieta Prince of Wales Cuban cigars, which pair nicely with the Teeling Platinum Reserve 30-Year Single Malt—if you can get your hands on it. All of Fox’s cigars are pristinely preserved in humidors crafted in Cuba by Ernesto Aguilera. Should you wish to bring a drop of Ireland back home with you as well, visit the Celtic Whiskey Shop (27-28 Dawson St.; +353-1-675-9744) just steps from St. Stephen’s Green, where you’ll find every Irish whiskey under the sun—and more—available for purchase. The shop’s unique collection is sure to delight even the most advanced collectors.

Local Treasures

A History Museum With A Distinctly Dublin Point Of View

Just across from the Celtic Whiskey Shop is The Little Museum of Dublin (15 St Stephen's Green; +353-1-661-1000), one of the city’s most beloved attractions. Director Trevor White and curator Simon O'Connor have filled the exhibition space with memorabilia, stories, and whimsical objects representing the city of Dublin and the characters that have inhabited it from 1900 through the beginnings of the 21st century.

The 5,000 or so artifacts in the museum’s collection—a photograph documenting Queen Victoria’s visit to Dublin in 1900; the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses; an entire room dedicated to the band U2—all of which have been donated or loaned directly from the people of Dublin, together tell the story of the Irish capital according to its denizens. Since local history and connections are the museum's primary focus, tech-enabled tours were forgone in favor of knowledgeable local guides who take visitors on a journey through the museum’s extraordinary finds. After the tour's conclusion guides invite their guests to a complimentary cup of tea, coffee, or a pint to share stories and local recommendations, as part of the museum's ‘City of a Thousand Welcomes’ initiative.

Let The Games Begin

An Active Day Of Ancient Irish Games

The more athletically inclined in search of unique outdoor experiences will love spending the day learning about and playing indigenous Irish sports at Experience Gaelic Games (Na Fianna GAA Club, Glasnevin; +353-1-254-4292) in the outskirts of the city. You’ll participate in two 3,000-year-old traditional Irish activities, Gaelic football, a full-contact sport that contains elements of both football (as in, soccer) and basketball; and hurling, something akin to lacrosse combined with baseball, only significantly more brutal.

Qualified and agreeable coaches will immerse you in the basics of each game as well as the historic significance of each sport before unleashing you onto the field. That’s when the real fun begins.

Delahunt Of Camden Street

Upscale Dining With Historic Roots

Chances are, after a long day spent exploring the city and its top attractions, you’ll have worked up an appetite. Make your way to Delahunt (39 Camden St. Lower.; +353-1-598-4880) near St. Stephen’s Green for flavorful Irish ingredients prepared with a modern point of view. A favorite among Dublin’s foodies, the restaurant is housed in a historic Victorian building that used to be a high-end grocery store, and "Delahunt of Camden Street" is referenced for its "port wine and sherry and curacao" and "cold joints galore and mince pies" in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Your taste buds are in for a treat with dishes like the trio of Sika deer: tartare, ox tongue, and bone marrow, paired with watercress, pickled turnips, and dripping toast; and roasted hake, served with mussels, celeriac, spinach, and apple in a creamy buttermilk sauce. The restaurant’s desserts are equally appealing, as in the rhubarb trifle, with pistachio sponge and cardamom custard; and warm chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream.