John Teeling bought the former State potato schnapps distillery in 1985. In less than two years, Teeling converted the distillery to have two column stills.
In 1998, Cooley received a trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) for outstanding quality, and for earning an impressive reputation over time. Cooley was the first distillery to be awarded the trophy.
In December 2011, Cooley was purchased by Beam Inc. for $95 million (€71 million). Beam was then purchased by Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan on 30 April 2014, and became its Beam Suntory subsidiary.
Following the sale, John Teeling went on to found the nearby Great Northern Distillery, while his children Jack and Stephen established the Teeling Distillery in Dublin, using stock acquired from Cooley under the terms of the sale agreement with Beam.