01 Jul 2022

Kilkenny publicans 'furious' at Smithwick’s Experience closure, call for reversal

'Ever since news, I’ve had publicans calling me to express amazement that Diageo would make this move' - local VFI chair


The Smithwicks Experience

Publicans in Kilkenny are said to be shocked and angry at the news that the Smithwick’s Experience is to close permanently and they want to see the decision reversed.

The Kilkenny branch of Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says the decision to close one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region is 'deeply short-sighted'. VFI Kilkenny Chairman Anthony Morrisson says publicans in the area want it to be reversed.

Mr Morrisson said Smitwicks was part of local heritage dating back over 300 years, and for Diageo to end such an important part of Kilkenny’s cultural identity is shocking.

"Ever since the news broke, I’ve had publicans calling me to express their amazement that Diageo would make this move," he said.

“We want Diageo to reverse the decision. While the Smithwick’s Experience was closed for the past year due to the pandemic we are now on the verge of reopening society. The Smithwick’s Experience would have been at the heart of Kilkenny’s reopening.

“Kilkenny VFI has contacted Diageo to make our views known. Its decision undermines any potential recovery of the hospitality trade in the city. Surely, we should be providing more reasons, not less, to visit Kilkenny.

“Diageo says Smithwick’s is proud of its Kilkenny roots and strong connection to the city and its people. It can demonstrate that connection by changing its mind and reopening the Smithwick’s Experience,” says the VFI Chairman.

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