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In 1791 James Power, an innkeeper from Dublin, established the John's Lane Distillery at Thomas St., Dublin. Initially trading as James Power, at the turn of the 19th century James' son John joined the business, and the company became known as John Power & Son.
Under John Power's management the company prospered. By 1823, with the help of a 500 gallon still, the annual output had grown to 33,000 gallons. A decade later, this had increased tenfold to approximately 330,000 gallons per annum.
As the distillery grew, so too did the stature of the family. John Power was knighted and later made High Sheriff of Dublin.
In 1866, John Power & Son began bottling their own whiskey, becoming one of the first distilleries in the world to do so. Until then, distilleries usually sold whiskey by the cask. A gold label adorned each bottle and it was from these that the whiskey got the name Powers Gold Label.
In 1871, then occupying 7 acres (28,000 m2), the distillery was rebuilt in Victorian style and was one of the most impressive sights in Dublin.
The last member of the board with a family connection was Sir Thomas Talbot Power who died in 1936. Ownership remained in the family until 1966, when Powers joined with the only other remaining distillers in Republic, the Cork Distillers Company and their Dublin rivals John Jameson & Son, to form the Irish Distillers Group.
The newly formed Irish Distillers Group decided, in a bold move, to close all of their existing distilleries and build a modern plant in Midleton, County Cork beside the existing Old Midleton Distillery. One evening in 1975, distillery workers finished the day in the old distillery and began work the next day in the new one.
In 1972, Irish Distillers acquired the Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland, bringing all distilleries on the island (at the time) under their control.