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About Cooley


Founder - John J. Teeling

John Teeling is the founder and Chairman of both the Cooley Distillery and African Diamonds.  As well as being the founder of the only independent Irish whiskey distillery which sells in 45 countries, he is a veteran of mineral and oil exploration.  Having established numerous companies, seven of which are on the London Stock Exchange, he currently chairs six, two in diamonds, two in oil, one in gold and one in zinc. 

African Diamonds is developing a large gemstone mine in Botswana in partnership with De Beers. 

He also lectured on business and finance in University College Dublin for 20 years.  He holds a doctorate from Harvard Business School in addition to his MBA from Wharton.


The Distillery Company

The Cooley Distillery was established by John Teeling after acquired the Ceimici Teo Distillery in 1987 (a former potato distillery).  In the 1970's while studying in Masschusetts, America, he summised that the Irish whiskey industry was monoplised and saw an opportunity to resurrect and create new Irish whiskey brands. 

Renaming the Dundalk-based distillery Cooley. Cooley was the first whiskey distillery to be founded in Ireland for over a century.


Whiskey Brands

The Tyroconnell single malt Irish whiskey


The Tyrconnell is a historic whiskey that the Cooley Distillery revived after buying the brand in 1988 after production stopped in 1925.

Before prohibition The Tyroconnell was one of the biggest selling whiskey brands in the USA. Pre-prohibition photos of Yankee stadium in New York show Tyrconnell billboards in positions of prominence at the venue.

Tyrconnell and Andrew A Watts enjoyed great success in the export sector. Sales in England, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, The West Indies and the US put Derry on the commercial map of the world. By the turn of the century Watt amalgamated his interest with two other Belfast distilleries to form United Distillers Company.

Previously owned by the Watt's Distillery, 1762. The Watt family had a proud tradition of producing good whiskeys, and also a love for horse racing.

The Tyrconnell was their flagship brand, and is named after a very successful racehorse owned by the Watt family.

This historic whiskey brand has been kept alive by Cooley, who has maintained the Tyrconnell reputation as shown by its recent Gold Medal wins.

It is produced using Irish barley with an absence of smoke/peat in the malting process.


Connemara peated single malt Irish whiskey

Connemara is a peated Irish single malt whiskey which takes its name from the region Irish peat can be sourced from.

Connemara is double-distilled rather than the more usual triple-distillation process that most Irish whiskeys undergo. It is aged in Bourbon casks.

Several versions can be found, including;


  • single-cask, 
  • cask-strength, 
  • 12-year, 
  • and the limited edition high-peat version called "Turf Mór." (over 50ppm Phenol)


Considered a revival of a lost style of Irish whiskey it is produced using Irish barley dried with smoke/heat from Irish peat used in the malting process. 


Kilbeggan Whiskey

The Kilbeggan was reopened in 2007 and is run in conjunction with Cooley and proffers the company’s storage facilities. In 1989, a pair of pot stills was installed, furnishing the distillery with the means to distil both malt and grain.