The Old Jameson Distillery (informally the Jameson Distillery) is an Irish whiskey tourist attraction located just off Smithfield Square in Dublin, Ireland. Since opening as an attraction in 1997, it receives between 300,000 and 350,000 guests per year. The Old Jameson Distillery is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. It is now a visitors centre that provides guided tours, tutored whiskey tastings, bars, a restaurant, and a gift shop.
The original distillery on this site was called the Bow Street Distillery and was established in 1780. John Jameson took full ownership (he was previously the general manager) and expanded the distillery in 1805. By 1810, the operation was officially renamed to John Jameson & Son’s Bow Street Distillery. The distillery grew to an upwards of 5 acres by 1886.
At this time, it was described by many as a "city within a city". The distillery also housed a Smithy, Cooperage, saw mills, engineers, carpenters, painters and coppersmiths’ shops. Water for the distillery came from two deep wells dug underneath the site. Cellars were also dug underneath nearby streets to store maturing whiskey, while four stills and two wash stills, each holding 24,000 gallons, were heated by both fire and steam coils above.
Following a difficult period that included American Prohibition, Ireland’s trade war with Great Britain, and the introduction of Scotch blended whiskey, the Jameson distillery fell on hard times and decided to form the Irish Distillers Group with their previous rivals, the Cork Distillery Company and John Power & Son in 1966. Eventually, it became one of the last distilleries in Ireland to close in 1971. The operation was then moved out of Dublin to the New Midleton Distillery.
By the late 1990s the distillery had fallen into disrepair, following a devastating fire. However, in the early 2000s, it was decided to convert the building into the Old Jameson Distillery, a visitors centre rather than an operating distillery. The Old Jameson Distillery as it is known today opened to the public in 1997.