Jones' Road Distillery (D.W.D.) - Dublin
1873 – c. 1945
Jones Road was one of the last distilleries to be built in Dublin and unlike some of its other more famous cousins, such the Jameson and Powers distilleries, was not a family firm. This was the heyday of whiskey distilling in Ireland, with Irish pot still whiskey dominating world markets, and the Dublin Whiskey Distillery Company (which became known as DWD) was a limited company formed by a consortium of seven businessmen. The distillery was completed in exactly a year and was, at that time an ultra modern complex. The distillery boasted an annual distilling capacity of 800,000 gallons, but it is unlikely it ever reached this, and when Alfred Barnard visited in 1886, he reported an annual output of 560,000 gallons.
The distillery had only the most modern and best equipment including a 50hp Leffel Turbine for electricity, driven either by a big wheel in the adjoining River Tolka or by one of the plant’s steam engines. Fire had been the downfall of many an Irish distillery in the past and DWD boasted two novel safety measures: curtains around the Mash Tun to stop the grist blowing over the edges and massive water tanks on top of the flat roofs, used to store process water, which could be used in case of fire. It even had a top floor observatory with extensive views over the city and nearby shoreline.
In 1891, DWD joined forces with 2 other Dublin distilleries - George Roe and William Jameson – to form the Dublin Distillers Company Limited (DDC). Each one of these distilleries had huge output and only used pot stills, totally ignoring the profitability and efficiency of Coffey Stills and grain whiskey, which was increasing being used by the Scots. Each member of DDC continued to produce Irish pot still whiskey under its own brand name and were therefore often in direct competition to each other. World War I, Irish Independence, civil war and American Prohibition were to deal deadly blows to all three of these distilleries which had an overproduction capacity for their ever diminishing markets. It is likely that the Jones Road Distillery stopped full time distilling in 1926, however it appears that they may have continued distilling irregularly until 1945. The last known whiskey from Jones Road was a bottling of a whiskey distilled in 1942 and bottled by the independent Scottish bottlers Cadenhead’s, who bought up most of the remaining stocks from Ireland’s closed distilleries in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.
After its closure, parts of the distillery fell into disrepair and other were used for various businesses, such engineering workshops and even a fitness centre during the 1990’s. The tall chimney is long gone, but the main distillery building thankfully became a protected structure. In 2003 conversion commenced to transform the building into upmarket apartments and these apartments are now known as Distillery Lofts.
A lot of pubs in Ireland still proudly display DWD mirrors, however, if you want to see the real thing, call into The Palace Bar on Dublin’s Fleet Street. They still have an original bottle of DWD whiskey. The whiskey is no longer for sale, it being their last bottle, but do make the trip as the Palace Bar is a great old fashioned Dublin pub, in many ways unchanged from the great Victorian pubs common to Dublin in the heyday of the Jones Road Distillery.
DWD Distillery - Jones' Road, Dublin
If you have any information, photos or know of any old bottles from the DWD Distillery in Dublin, we'd love to hear from you, so please don't hesitate to contact us.
The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard