Fonds OHS2 - Records of the Williams Group

Tullamore Distillery B. Daly & Co. Ltd. D. E. Williams Ltd. Williams-Egan Ltd. Irish Mist Liqueur Co. Ltd. Royal Irish Liqueur Co. Ltd. Irish Distillers Ltd.

Identity area

Reference code



Records of the Williams Group


  • 1829-1997 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

238 volumes
70 boxes
3 A1 folders
1 A2 folder
4 A3 folders

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Williams Group Tullamore Ltd. was formed as a holding company to control and co-ordinate the activities of the four existing companies, D. E. Williams Ltd., B. Daly and Co. Ltd., Keily & Co. Ltd., and the Irish Mist Liqueur Co. Ltd.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Tullamore Distillery was founded by Michael Molloy in Tullamore in 1829. On Molloy’s death in 1857, the distillery passed to his nephew Bernard Daly and in 1887, his son, Captain Bernard Daly took charge.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Captain Bernard Daly took over Tullamore Distillery in 1887. Daniel E. Williams (1848­–1921) who had joined the distillery in 1864 as an engineer, was promoted by Daly to General Manager of the Distillery in 1885. The distillery grew in strength and in 1903 was incorporated into the company B. Daly & Co., Ltd. The most famous brand produced was the whiskey, Tullamore DEW. Captain Daly held a portion of the shares in B. Daly & Co. Ltd., and the Williams family held the remainder. D. E. Williams died in 1921 and the business was taken over by his son, Captain John Williams. In 1931, Captain Daly resigned as director of the board and the Williams family acquired all shares in the company. In response to falling whiskey sales in the 1940s, an associate company, The Irish Mist Liqueur Co. Ltd was formed in 1948 to bring a new product to the market. In 1952, the brand name Tullamore DEW was sold to Irish Distillers Ltd, and B. Daly & Co. Ltd ceased distilling and diversified into chicken production.

Name of creator


Administrative history

While working in Tullamore Distillery since 1864, D. E. Williams had also established his own grocery business in 1891 in Tullamore. This rapidly expanded to 26 bars, groceries and hardware stores all within a 30-mile radius of Tullamore. The branch houses, mostly licensed, were located in neighbouring towns, and the company expanded into an important wine and spirit business, general wholesale, tea and mineral waters. D. E. Williams Ltd. also had interests in malting and seed/corn dealing, which expanded in the 1950s as it became the supplier of malt to other distillers and brewers through the Midland Malting Co. Ltd. in 1968.

In 1961, D. E. Williams Ltd. expanded into the supermarket business and established the chain of Five-Star supermarkets, some on the sites of the original Williams branch shops. In 1966, the Williams Group Tullamore Ltd was incorporated and comprised the companies D. E Williams Ltd., B. Daly & Co. Ltd, Keily & Co. Ltd., and Irish Mist Liqueur Company.

In 1997 both companies were sold to Greencore plc.

Name of creator

(1947 - 1986)

Administrative history

The company Savermo (Eire) Ltd. was found in 1947 due to falling whiskey sales and the production of Irish Mist started. The recipe was claimed to be the 1000 years old ‘Heather Wine’ from the time of the Irish Clan fights. It contains the blending and ageing process of four aged Whiskeys, heather honey and herbs.
In 1950 the name of the company changed to Irish Mist Liqueur Company Ltd.. William G. Jaffray was director and general manager - D. E. Williams managing director under the head of the Williams Group. E. P. Spollen was leading the marketing division.
The Irish Mist figurine was substantial for its marketing campaign and represented an Irish Hussar in the army of Empress Therese of Austria, ca. 1750.
The liqueur was sold on the home trade and from the 1960s also on an export basis. With the US importer and distributor Heublein Inc. Irish Mist gained a place on the American market from the year 1963 onwards.
In 1985 the Williams Group sold the Irish Mist Liqueur Company to the Cantrell & Cochrane Group (C & C) based in Clonmel, Tipperary.


Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Accounts, legal documents, correspondence and marketing material relating to the foundation companies of the Williams Group, namely Tullamore Distillery, B. Daly & Co. Ltd., D. E. Williams Ltd., Irish Mist Liqueur Co. Ltd. and other associated companies.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The collection has been arranged by parent company, although it should be noted that there is considerable overlap between the corporate entities. In particular, the legal documents were arranged together in a separate series as it would not have been possible to divide such documents between the parent companies given the interlinked nature of their contents.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

By appointment only. Contact [email protected]

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction for private research and study as per the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000, is granted at the discretion of the archivist. Reproduction for commercial purposes is by application to Offaly History.

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Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Fair to good condition throughout, although the material has suffered damp conditions in the past.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

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Publication note

Michael Byrne, 'Michael Molloy, the founder of the Tullamore distillery, 1777-1846' in Offaly Heritage 10 (2018)

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Description control area

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Initial arrangement and description, Lisa Shortall (January 2016)
Final version, Michelle Guenter (January 2022)




Accession area