Guinness-owner Diageo is to invest £18.6 million in the Irish whiskey category, launching a new brand and unveiling plans to build a distillery at the St James' Gate brewery in Dublin, where the Black Stuff is produced.

The new brand, called Roe & Co, will be available from March 1.

It is made from Irish malt and grain whiskies, aged in Bourbon casks and described as having, "notes of creamy vanilla balanced with hints of fruit and soft spice."

It is named after George Roe who once owned Ireland's largest distillery, situated close to St James' Gate, and helped fuel the Irish whiskey boom in the 19th century.




"In crafting Roe & Co we explored the demands of today's consumers for more premium drinking experiences and the desire of bartenders for an adaptable, flavourful whiskey that works in both traditional and new cocktails," explained Tanya Clarke, general manager of Reserve Europe (Diageo's luxury arm).

Planning permission pending the new distillery will begin production in the first half of 2019, the company confirmed.

Irish whisky is currently experiencing something of a boom, with global sales up 300 per cent and record exports of over €400 million in the last ten years, according to the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.

In recent years Diageo has also invested in the blended Scotch whisky category with the launch of Haig Club, its tie up with David Beckham.