The last of the
great tycoons

When John Teeling was studying for his doctorate in business at Harvard University in the US in 1971, he wrote about the decline of the Irish whiskey industry.

When John Teeling was studying for his doctorate in business at Harvard University in the US in 1971, he wrote about the decline of the Irish whiskey industry.

The sales at the time were just two per cent of Scotch and there were only two distilleries left in the country.

In 1987 he bought the plant at Cooley, which was build in the Thirties to produce potato alcohol.

He set out to produce a pure single malt, a lighter, sweeter blend than Jameson and Bushmills.

By 2009 Cooley had profits of €3.5 million.

It won the European Distiller of the Year award and its Kilbeggan 15-year-old whiskey was voted the Best Whiskey in the World.In fact, Cooley won over 300 medals.

In 2011 Cooley was bought for 71 million by the US drinks company Beam which ended all the companies trade contacts.

Now, John Teeling looks set to repeat his success story with this new venture which will supply the third-party whiskey market. And this, along with his venture into the international diamond industry, might just become the last of the great Irish business tycoons.