The distillery was founded in 1757 by Matthew MacManus, and went through several owners until by 1843 it had been taken over by John Locke who transformed its fortunes. In 1893 it became a limited company. The 20th century saw a decline in profitability and by 1958, the distillery ceased production. In 1982, it re-opened as a whiskey distillery museum following restoration by the Kilbeggan Preservation and Development Association. In 2007 distilling recommenced at Kilbeggan and it is known now as Kilbeggan Distillery.