We are thrilled to share some exciting news that has set our spirits soaring. 

McConnell’s Irish Whisky has once again proven its excellence, clinching not one, but two Gold medals at the prestigious DBSB Spring Tasting Awards 2023. 

This remarkable recognition is a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship that go into every drop of McConnell’s Irish Whisky.

A Taste of Victory

At the DBSB Spring Tasting Awards 2023, our beloved McConnell’s Irish Whisky achieved an extraordinary feat, earning two Gold medals in the Irish Blended Whisky category. 

The winning entries were none other than our McConnell’s Irish Whisky 5-Year-Old and the exquisite Sherry Cask Finish. 

These awards, presented by The Spirits Business, a renowned international spirits magazine and website, are a mark of distinction in the world of premium spirits.

Triumph Amongst Global Competition

To secure these Gold medals, McConnell's whiskies faced fierce competition from nearly 100 entries representing 47 different companies worldwide. 

The fact that two of our blends emerged victorious is a source of immense pride. 

John Kelly, Chief Executive at Belfast Distillery Company, expressed his thoughts on this remarkable achievement:

“Earning the recognition of industry professionals, drinks experts and our peers is a huge compliment for McConnell’s Irish Whisky, and a deserved boost for our team at Belfast Distillery Company who work so hard to make our portfolio the very best it can be. One of the things we strive for is a high quality product, and the Spring Blind Tasting Award is very much about recognising spirits which stand out because of their drink quality.”

A Future Fuelled by Excellence

While these recognitions are certainly a reason for celebration, we're not resting on our laurels. We have an exhilarating year ahead, with the construction of our new J&J McConnell’s Distillery & Visitor Experience well underway, set to open its doors in Autumn 2023. 

Additionally, our team at Belfast Distillery Company is expanding as we continue to grow our business.

However, amidst all these exciting developments, our core priorities remain unwavering. We are dedicated to Bringing Distilling Back to Belfast and crafting exceptional, premium Irish Whisky. 

That's the essence of McConnell’s, and these Gold medals serve as a testament to our commitment to excellence.

Join Us on the Journey

As we bask in the glory of these prestigious awards, we invite you to join us on this remarkable journey. 

McConnell’s Irish Whisky has a bright future ahead, one that we're excited to share with you. 

For more information on McConnell’s Irish Whisky and our plans to build the new J&J McConnell’s Distillery & Visitor Experience at the historic site of the former A-Wing at Crumlin Road Gaol in North Belfast, visit mcconnellsirishwhisky.com.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you, our valued supporters and Whisky lovers, for being a part of our story. 

These Gold medals are a reflection of the passion, dedication, and craftsmanship that go into every bottle of McConnell’s Irish Whisky. 

Here's to more exceptional moments and exquisite sips ahead! Cheers!

Hello, Whisky lovers! 

We're thrilled to announce that McConnell's Irish Whisky is gearing up for an exciting adventure at Bar Convent Berlin 2023. 

As an exhibitor at this renowned international bar and beverage trade show, we're ready to raise our glasses and connect with fellow aficionados, bar owners, bartenders, distributors, and manufacturers from all around the world.

The Bar Convent Berlin Experience

For those unfamiliar with Bar Convent Berlin (BCB), it's the largest trade fair for the bar and beverage industry. This bustling event attracts professionals from nearly 90 countries, making it a melting pot of innovation, expertise, and, of course, fantastic spirits. 

It's the perfect place for us to share our passion for McConnell's Irish Whisky and to discover the latest trends and innovations in the industry.

A Global Gathering

At BCB, we'll be joining a diverse group of exhibitors and attendees who all share a love for drinks and the art of mixing them. This year's event happens from October 9th to 11th, 2023, at the Exhibition Centre, Berlin. 

It's an incredible opportunity to meet people who are passionate about drinks, whether you're a pro or just getting started.

Exploring the Possibilities

One of the remarkable aspects of Bar Convent Berlin is the wealth of knowledge and expertise on display. The event features a line-up of engaging speakers who delve into various aspects of the bar and beverage world. 

These seminars cover everything from mixology techniques to emerging industry trends. It's a valuable chance for us to learn, grow, and share our own insights with the global community.

A Global Network

BCB goes beyond Berlin; it has broadened its impact by hosting additional events in Brooklyn, São Paulo, and Singapore. 

Being exhibitors, this grants us the opportunity not just to interact with professionals within the industry during the event but also facilitates the expansion of our footprint to a broader international audience. 

It's a thrilling prospect that harmonises seamlessly with our goal of showcasing the rich history and exceptional quality of McConnells Irish Whisky on a global scale.

Join Us at Booth 20D23

We invite you to come and visit our booth at Bar Convent Berlin 2023. We'll be showcasing our finest Whiskys, sharing the story of McConnells, and engaging in the vibrant discussions that make this event so special. 

Whether you're a fan of Irish Whisky or simply curious to learn more, we'd love to raise a glass with you.

Stay Connected

As we prepare for this thrilling event, be sure to stay connected with us on social media and our website for updates and insights leading up to Bar Convent Berlin 2023. We can't wait to share this experience with you and to continue our journey of bringing the exceptional taste of McConnell's Irish Whisky to the world.

In the world of spirits and mixology, Bar Convent Berlin is where innovation and tradition converge. For more information about this event, you may visit https://www.barconvent.com/en-gb.html

We look forward to raising a toast to the future of McConnells and the exciting opportunities that await us at this exceptional event. See you there!

Progress on the new J&J McConnell’s Distillery and Visitor Experience on the Crumlin Road in North Belfast marked a major milestone this week with the arrival of three new state of the art Whiskey pot stills. The stills were transported by road and sea from Forsyths, a world leader in the supply of distillation equipment, based in the North East of Scotland.

The stills were installed in A wing via a complex engineering feat involving opening the roof of the Grade A Listed Building and operating a crane at the construction site, hoisting each copper still into the air before carefully lowering each one into place.

Once operational, the 5000 litre wash still, 3000 litre intermediate still and 3000 litre spirit still will produce Triple Distilled Single Malt Irish Whiskey. The production capacity of the distillery will be 500,000 litres of pure alcohol (LPAs) per year, which would account for over 4 million bottles of McConnell’s Irish Whisky. Belfast Distillery Company plan to commission the stills in September this year, meaning the first bottle of McConnell’s Irish Whisky distilled from their own distillery could be available before the end of 2026.

Belfast Distillery Company Chief Executive, John Kelly was on hand to oversee the stills installation and outlined the significance of this milestone. He said:

“Last August we celebrated the start of the building work for this project which is set to transform a part of this historic landmark in the heart of North Belfast. Nine months on, the arrival of our stills marks the significant progress we are already making.

“Later this year the J&J McConnell’s Distillery and Visitor Experience will become the new home of McConnell’s Irish Whisky.We will be inviting visitors to come in and learn more about Ireland’s unique distilling process, the history of McConnell’s and it’s connections with Belfast over centuries, plus we will be producing our award-winning McConnell’s Irish Whisky on site. McConnell’s is very much ‘Back in Belfast’.”

The construction of the £22million J&J McConnell’s Distillery and Visitor Experience by the Belfast Distillery Company is well underway and the project is on track to open this Autumn. In total 50 new jobs will be created at the Crumlin Road site. John continued:

“We are now right in the middle of this exciting project and our team is growing fast. We are determined to play our part in the North Belfast community, to support the tourism sector right across Belfast and Northern Ireland, as well as adding another distillery to the growing number of distilleries on the island of Ireland.”

The completed distillery will extend over three floors offering 1,000 sq. m. of distilling floor-space and 1,700 sq. m. for the visitor experience, with plans to host over 100,000 visitors each year. Visitor experiences will include whiskey tours, cocktail masterclasses, a tasting bar, shop, and events spaces for hire.

Belfast Distillery Company has doubled its workforce as it expands its operations, both locally and globally.


The newly expanded team widens the expertise and capacity of Belfast Distillery Company (BDC), as it brings McConnell’s Irish Whisky to bars and off-licences from Belfast to Brisbane and Boston to Berlin.

The latest additions to the BDC team include Dessie Roche, who joins the team as commercial manager, having come from a background in accounting and international sales, and Joanne Paffey, who fills the role of supply chain controller, bringing experience in manufacturing and production planning. Conchúr Fitzpatrick has also come on board, as McConnell’s brand ambassador, and will be involved in brand development, marketing, social media and sales, as well as travelling to trade events, promoting the brand in recently established markets.

This period of growth also sees the promotion of Sarah Kennedy to the position of brand manager, as the team ramps up its marketing communications across all channels and the distributor network.

Statement By CEO

Speaking about the appointment of the newest team members, John Kelly, CEO at Belfast Distillery Company, said, “Thanks to the efforts of our existing team and the industry response received for the newly restored McConnell’s Irish Whisky brand across the globe, Belfast Distillery Company has experienced rapid growth over the last six months. Even in a market as competitive as premium Irish whiskey, McConnell’s is standing out, both with traditional consumers and those who are new to the category. The fact that we are expanding so rapidly to meet the demand is proof of today’s positive performance, and that the future is very bright for McConnell’s Irish Whisky.

“Belfast Distillery Company and our McConnell’s Irish Whisky brand is bringing Irish Whiskey distilling back to Belfast, and in support of that goal, we need a strong team on the ground here in the city. We are often at events and trade shows across the US and Europe, and we are determined to build an ambitious and experienced team here in Belfast, which will be crucial to our continued success. We are delighted to welcome our new members to the team and look forward to seeing the positive impact we know they will have on McConnell’s Irish Whisky.”

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

THE company behind a multi-million-pound whiskey distillery in the former Crumlin Road Gaol has landed new distribution deals in the UK, Europe and Canada.

The Belfast Distillery Company has confirmed deals with Paragon Brands in the UK; Ligne de Vin in France; Konitsiotis in Greece; and Compagnia Dei Caraibi in Italy.

The growing whiskey venture, which has revived the historic McConnell’s brand, has also expanded its reach in North America, where Noble Estates Wines & Spirits will manage supply to the Ontario market and McCarthy Wines & Spirits will supply Nova Scotia.


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