Jameson, John (1773–1861), distiller, was born in August 1773 in Scotland, the second son of John Jameson (d.1823), sheriff clerk of Clackmannanshire, and his wife Margaret, daughter of John Haig of Alloa, the original proprietor of John Haig & Co., distillers. John Jameson senior came to Dublin with his sons John and William in 1784 and obtained an interest in the business of John Stein, a distiller with premises in Bow Street and Marrowbone Lane. John junior married Stein's daughter, Isabella, in 1802 and took over the Bow Street distillery, re-naming it John Jameson & Son Ltd in 1810, while William took over the Marrowbone Lane Distillery and established William Jameson & Co.
The Bow Street distillery initially had a 1,256 gallon still but John Jameson was eager to expand and acquired additional premises nearby, with a 750 gallon still. The business continued to grow and eventually covered several acres in the Bow Street area. Ambitious and innovative, Jameson used on-site wells as the source for process water and toured the country in search of the most suitable barley for distilling. His distillery soon was entirely self-sufficient, containing its own workshops for coopers, wagon-makers and coppersmiths, and he also acquired substantial grain stores in Drogheda. For many years he refused to bottle his product, preferring to sell his whiskey to spirit merchants who would then bottle it. In 1823 he gave evidence to the inquiry by the revenue commissioners into the distilling industry, complaining of the unscrupulous practices of some spirit merchants who diluted his company's product or simply sold spurious whiskey using Jameson labels. When he discovered evidence of such practices, he invariably prosecuted the offenders.
When the still licence system was ended in 1823, he embarked on a further programme of improvements at his distillery and by 1833 Jameson was paying duty on over 330,000 gallons of whiskey a year while more was put in bonded storage. The bonded warehouses at Jameson's became a legend in Dublin: it was reported that at any given time over two million gallons of whiskey were maturing in these vast warehouses which stretched under the streets of the city. Many other distillers mocked Jameson's insistence on a long maturing process but ultimately were forced to copy his methods. He invested vast amounts of capital in new distilling equipment while also devoting much care to the training and welfare of his workers.
John Jameson lived at 55 Prussia Street, Dublin, and died 31 July 1861. He and his wife Isabella had six sons and one daughter: the eldest son was John Jameson (1804–91), JP and high sheriff of the city of Dublin; the fifth son was Andrew Jameson (1812–72), artist and bibliophile; the youngest son, Henry Jameson (1817–1901) was a proprietor of Jameson & Son, distillers, and Watkins, Jameson and Pym, brewers.
James Jameson (1781–1847), distiller, was the third son of John Jameson (d.1823) and the younger brother of John Jameson above. On the death of his elder brother William in 1802, he inherited the distillery in Marrowbone Lane and established James Jameson & Co. with a 946 gallon still. The business thrived and by 1833 was producing over 300,000 gallons a year. Like his brother at Bow St., he embarked on a programme of modernisation, investing large amounts of capital in new equipment, buying two steam-engines and expanding the premises. It eventually covered over fourteen acres and was Ireland's second largest distillery. In 1890 it was incorporated into the Dublin Distilling Company. James acquired a large estate at Windfield, Go. Galway and also the demesne at Montrose, Donnybrook, Co. Dublin. From 1828 he served as a director of the Bank of Ireland. He died 24 August 1847. In September 1815 he married Elisabeth Sophia, daughter of the Rev. William Woolsey, of Priorland, Co. Louth. The Woolseys were long established brewers in Dundalk.