The History of Tullamore D.E.W. XO Whiskey

Born in Ireland, Tullamore D.E.W is produced by William Grant & Sons. It is the second largest selling brand of Irish whiskey globally, with sales of over 1,500,000 cases per annum as of 2020.

The Distillery

The old Tullamore Distillery was established in 1829 and is located in Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland. Its name is derived from the initials of Daniel E. Williams (D.E.W.), a general manager and later owner of the original distillery. The original distillery closed down in 1954 and with stocks of whiskey running low, the brand was sold to John Powers & Son, another Irish distiller in the 1960s.

Production was transferred to the Midleton Distillery, County Cork in the 1970s following a merger of three major Irish distillers.

The men behind the Tullamore Distillery

Michael Molloy established the distillery in 1829 in Tullamore. On his death, the distillery eventually passed to his nephew, Bernard Daly who later appointed Daniel E. Williams as the distillery’s General Manager.Under Williams’s watchful eye, the distillery expanded and prospered, launching the whiskey bearing his initials (D.E.W.), Tullamore D.E.W.

Change of ownership

In 2010, the brand was purchased by William Grant & Sons, who constructed a new distillery on the outskirts of Tullamore. The new distillery opened in 2014, bringing production of the whiskey back to the town after a break of sixty years.

In 2012, a visitor centre was opened in a refurbished bonded warehouse previously belonging to the original distillery. The centre offers guided tours and tutored tastings ranging from 50 minutes to 5 hours in duration.

Famous fans

Tullamore Dew is the whiskey of choice for a couple of famous stars. Folk singer Dave Van Ronk frequently performed with his trademark stoneware jug of Tullamore D.E.W. on stage next to him. Hunter S. Thompson makes frequent mention of Tullamore Dew in his early letters later collected in The Proud Highway. Tullamore Dew is also the whiskey of choice for the widow MacDonagh in Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles.