The Old Bushmills Distillery

The Old Bushmills Distillery

Top Tourist Attractions

The Old Bushmills Distillery is a distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Founded in 1784 and now owned by Casa Cuervo of Mexico. Bushmills Distillery uses water drawn from Saint Columb's Rill, which is a tributary of the River Bush. The distillery is a popular tourist attraction, with around 120,000 visitors per year.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at the world's oldest licensed working distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on the beautiful North Coast. Granted a license to distil in 1608, Bushmills is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.


Records back in 1276 show it was used to fortify troops even then! Located on the River Bush, the distillery uses local water from the Saint Columb’s Rill and malted barley to create the famous whiskey in small batches.

The company that operates the distillery was formed in 1784 by Hugh Anderson. It has had several owners and survived many ups and downs, even closing several times. However, it has been in constant operation since a fire in 1885 required the distillery to be rebuilt.


Close to the River Bush, the quaint whitewashed brick buildings and Visitor Centre are steeped in history. The village of Bushmills is well worth a visit in its own right and is home to the famous Bushmills Distillery. It is 6 miles east of the end/start of the Causeway Coastal Route, close to Dunluce Castle and the Royal Portrush Golf Course.

The Tour

The one-hour tour helps to obtain first-hand information on how the craft of whiskey-making is carried out. Walk with them through the living history of our grain-to-glass processes, experiencing the impressive sights and rich scents of each stage from mash tun to pot still to barrel. Then complete your tour in the 1608 bar to taste for yourself the culmination of more than 400 years of expertise and innovation.

Over 120,000 visitors take the Bushmills Distillery tour every year. Your tour guide will take you through the distillery in small groups on a tour that takes about 40 minutes. Learn about the distilling process, see the barrels and casks in which the amber nectar is aged and visit the bottling hall.

Bushmills uses 100% malted barley to create malt whiskey. Some are blended Irish whiskeys which combine malt whiskey with lighter grain whiskey.


Bushmills Whiskey is produced in small batches and each hire 40,000 litres of water. The mash takes 6.5 hours and then fermentation lasts for another 58 hours in the washbacks.

The distillery uses 10 pot stills to produce around 4 million litres per annum. Each warehouse contains 15,000 casks of maturing stock. That’s a lot of liquor! The minimum term of maturity for Bushmills whiskey is 4.5 years with aged whiskeys being matured for 10 years or more.

Unique Features

Despite its fame and considerable output, it remains a quaint village business built on local grit and determination.

In 2008, the distillery featured on Bank of Ireland banknotes and has been retained on the new polymer version. Families have worked in this historic distillery for generations, creating hand-crafted Irish whiskey that’s second to none.

It’s a must-visit, especially for whiskey lovers, with a fabulous tour, thorough guides, and an interesting developing process. Not to forget, it is the best Irish whiskey in the world.