Ballykeefe Distillery is in Kilkenny – The Birthplace of Irish Whiskey
At Ballykeefe Distillery, we are now bringing the “water of life” from centuries past to a new generation for their pleasure and good health.
Kilkenny city is the medieval capital of Ireland. It has a unique heritage and tradition steeped in a history which is clearly evident as you walk through the narrow streets with its beautiful architecture and landmarks. It also holds the unique distinction of being the birthplace of Irish Whiskey
The first written account of distilling whiskey in Ireland comes from Kilkenny in 1324. It was written in the Red Book of Ossory. The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”.
from Field to GLASS
Ballykeefe Distillery produces a super-premium whiskey, truly exceptional gin and a special vodka at our eco-friendly on farm distillery in the picturesque Kilkenny countryside.
We grow our barley on our family farm here in the picturesque Kilkenny countryside. This is very important to us as we can assure you, that our barley is grown to the highest quality and receives plenty of the South East’s beautiful sunshine. Once our barley has reached peak ripeness it is harvested. With the natural factor of the crystal-clear water, home grown barley, and the craftsmanship of our award-winning master distiller, Jamie, we use the traditional Irish method of triple distillation for our premium spirits. Distillation in our stunning copper pot stills results in more fully flavoured spirit. Alas, we are not finished adding flavour, we store the spirit in our used seasoned wooden casks, and after a spell of time there, mother nature helps once again, with our beautiful Kilkenny climate influencing the rate of maturation and enabling the development of particular aromas, sensational smells and caramelised flavours.
The straw that comes from the harvest , is used as bedding for the cattle during the winter months, and the ale that’s made in the brew house here in the distillery, is extremely high in protein and we feed that back to our cattle here on the farm.
We are Ecologically Friendly —- this is the major reason why we are different.
BallyKeefe Distilleryis 100% Self Sustainable
Morgan & Anne Ging wanted to revive a lost tradition of family farm distilling and in so doing hand on to their children a more diverse, ecological and sustainable family operation.
The opening of the first whiskey distillery in over 200 years in the medieval capital of Ireland, also restores a historical Irish custom of family farm distilleries from centuries past, growing their own barley to produce their own whiskey and feeding the byproducts of distillation to the cattle on the farm. This unique operation from “Our Field to Your Glass” operation has no off-farm by-products contaminating the environment.
Building Eco-Friendly Partnerships
Everyone benefits from a greener world and we are delighted that our tourists are playing their part in increasingly looking for sustainable experiences on their holiday. We must all protect the natural environment for future generations to enjoy. Ballykeefe Distillery is excited to team up with An Board Bia “Origin Green” and a number of Ireland’s distinguished academic institutions as strategic partners to advance the protection of our beautiful environment.
The Ballykeefe Experience
Discover the origins of Irish Whiskey here at Ballykeefe Distillery. We aim to educate and entertain you as our expert tour guide takes you back through the ages of Irish whiskey to where it all began at its birthplace. The tour will be a journey through every part of the Ballykeefe operation, which has revived the lost traditions of a family farm distillery, with a unique commitment to environmental protection, carbon neutrality and sustainability.
What to expect on your Distillery tour
You will visit each stage of the brewing and distilling process, from the mill house, to the brewhouse, to the breath taking copper pot stills to the warehouse and our on site bottling plant. You will see up close every step in the process and also enjoy and have explained the many different aromas and smells at each stage of the brewing and distilling process.
Secrets of a Master Distiller
Many secrets will be revealed in how our Master Distiller ensures only the best brew makes it through to the distillation. How he makes the “cut” of spirits that will go to the casks and what is discarded. How does he achieve the flavors and consistency and why are the barrels and climate so crucial at the final stages of the process.
We will also explain the magical “Angels share” that Mother Nature takes from every barrel as it ages silently in our warehouse for years. You will also be told of our exceptional water source, from an aquifer 260ft beneath the surface of the rich Ballykeefe earth, right here on our farm. This crystal clear water picks up its unique flavour from the permeable rock of Ballykeefe limestone.
Tasting our Products
Finally, with your thirst for knowledge satisfied, there now comes the moment to quench another desire. For this, you will be taken to enjoy the wonderful ambience of our exquisite whiskey tasting room, transformed from the horses stable. There we will share samples of our fantastic products, which we are certain you will enjoy even more, knowing their history and the craftsmanship devoted to their making.