IRISH DISTILLERS, the company which produces Jameson Irish Whiskey, is planning a major revamp of the hugely popular Jameson Experience in Midleton, Co. Cork.
The group is looking to maintain the site's already large footfall in the coming years and ensure that it remains an attractive tourist destination for people around the world.
A spokesman for Irish Distillers said that the company strives to match the calibre of their tourism product with the high-quality whiskey for which they are internationally renowned.
"In order to maintain our overall visitor experience in Midleton, we are making some upgrades to the site to provide for the future needs of our visitors and staff," the spokesman said.
"Our guided tours and experiences will temporarily relocate to another part of our site to facilitate these upgrades."
Cork County Council have granted planning permission for the upgrade of two of the blocks at the site already.
The renovated heritage centre will boast a new reception area, an auditorium, whiskey-tasting rooms, bar areas, cafeterias, and a retail shop offering off-trade whiskey sales.
The plans also encompass new offices, a meeting room, lounge area, toilets, storage, staff facilities and plant/services areas.
As the blocks are protected structures formally listed by the council, all the work will have to comply with the provisos of the local authorities.
While the spokesman was unable to offer an estimate for the cost of the project, it is anticipated to cost several million euros.
In keeping with all non-essential construction throughout the country, work on the site will only commence once it is 100% safe to do so with regards to Covid-19 health and safety considerations. It remains to be seen when the green light will be given then, but it's expected to be at some point in the autumn.
Using a repurposed wooden mill, the Distillery first opened in Midleton in 1825. The building would later be used as a barracks to house British Army soldiers.
The visitor centre was established in 1992.
Tourists come from far and wide to visit the Midleton centre, where they can enjoy one-hour guided tours of the old distillery, viewing the old kilns, mills, maltings, water wheel, still house, distiller's cottage, cooperage, and warehouses.
Visitors are also invited to take part in whiskey tastings, comparing Jameson whiskey with Scottish and American alternatives.
The Midleton centre and the Jameson Distillery at Bow Street, Dublin attract over 500,000 visitors per year.
Both centres have closed in accordance with government Covid-19 regulations.
The Jameson brand experienced a mild reduction in overall sales in 2020 due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has however still managed to achieve impressive growth in revenue in over 50 markets, including several key consumer hubs such as Russia, Britain, South Africa and Ireland, and has also enjoyed strong growth in emerging markets including China and Nigeria.