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In 2008, Bushmills celebrates 400 years of local distilling history…a unique, unbroken whiskey-making tradition still very much alive today at the Old Bushmills Distillery. Just two miles from the spectacular Giant’s Causeway, the distillery lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty which is rich in history and folklore. At Bushmills, the visitor can observe the craft and skills of making Irish whiskey. The guided tour includes the ingredients and processes, spring water from Saint Columb’s Rill and the finest malted barley, to the art of triple distillation in copper stills and ageing in oak casks. Of course, no visit would be complete without enjoying a complimentary glass of Bushmills whiskey. Today, Bushmills is a well known name for smooth, distinctive Irish whiskey. The whiskey maturing process takes time, between five and thirty years depending on the blend. Often there are around 171,000 barrels on site maturing. Recent accolades include a review by the New York Times in 2006 describing Bushmills 10 year Malt as -the best Irish whiskey Children under 8 are welcome to visit the Distillery but are not permitted to join guided tours. Groups of 15 or more, telephone to arrange your visit. *Due to the high demand of places on the guided tours there may be occasions when all tour places sell out early. Tour places are sold on a first come first serve basis and cannot be purchased in advance.*
Despite a lack of historical evidence, it is believed that troops of King Henry II drank Bushmills some 400 years before the distillery became officially licensed in 1608 by King James I. In 1784 the Bushmills Distillery became an officially registered company. From 1740 to 1910 Irish emigrants to the USA spread the word of Bushmills, as did the product's wins in international spirit and whiskey competitions.
A showcase at the distilleryIn the early 1900s, the USA was a very important market for Bushmills (and other Irish Whiskey producers). Prohibition in 1920 came as a large blow to the Irish Whiskey industry, but Bushmills managed to survive. Wilson Boyd, Bushmill's director at the time, predicted the end of prohibition and had large stores of whiskey ready to export. After the Second World War, the distillery was bought by Isaac Wolfson, and, in 1972, it was taken over by Irish Distillers, meaning that Irish Distillers controlled the production of all Irish whiskey at the time. In June 1988, Irish Distillers was bought by French liquor group Pernod Ricard.
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