Since 1608

The Bushmills History

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On April 20th 1608, King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips - landowner and Governor of Co. Antrim, Ireland – a license to distil.


The Old Bushmills Distillery is official. Hugh Anderson registered the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Pot Still became its registered trade mark. It’s still our mark of genuine distinction today.


Sticking to our grains. A malt tax introduced - drastically increasing the price of the malted barley. While some distillers changed their recipe, at Bushmills we didn’t.


Out of the ashes. A disastrous fire destroyed The Old Bushmills Distillery. But we pulled together and were soon rebuilt and back in full production.

1880 - early 1900s

The golden years. Old Bushmills’ ‘celebrated malt whisky’ wins numerous prizes in international spirits competitions, including the ‘only gold medal for whiskey’ at the Paris 1889 Expo.

1918 - 1920

A new chapter. Bushmills Whiskey made an impression on some of the most prolific authors of the time. It gets a mention in Ulysses and, not surprisingly, in On Booze.


Prohibition ends. Bushmills is a whiskey you can believe in – and no one believed harder than Belfast merchant Samuel Wilson. Fully 10 YEARS before prohibition ended he bought the Bushmills Distillery knowing one day he’d make his fortune - and a lot of Americans very happy!

1939 - 1945

Doing our bit. World War II halted production as Allied troops were billeted at the distillery. Meanwhile in Belfast, a bomb hit our head office destroying all our archives.

1950s - 1960s

Boom time. Production resumed after the war and Bushmills became increasingly popular. Exports rocketed - particularly to the US.


Star quality. The golden hues of Bushmills grace the silver screen in the classic movie The Verdict.


Celebrating 400 years. To mark this, the Bank of Ireland put the Old Bushmills Distillery on its new banknotes. Who says money can't buy happiness?


A rewarding time. In a truly incredible year for the brand, Bushmills swept the board at spirits competitions across the world - now that's worth raising a glass to!


Making friends. Bushmills was joined by some famous friends from the film, music, design and photography worlds who became our ambassadors to spread the word that great whiskey and great friendships belong together. Bon Iver, Elijah Wood and Chromeo are just a few of the names happy to join in.


Music to our ears. A once in a lifetime live music festival was held at The Old Bushmills Distillery - Bushmills Live. This ‘money-can’t-buy’ event celebrated the craft behind fine whiskey and great music.



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