A new enterprise based on an old tradition is set to play an important role in the business and tourism economy of the Ards Peninsula following the official opening of Echlinville Distillery.
Opened by First Minster Arlene Foster, the stillhouse is the jewel-in-the-crown of Echlinville’s innovative facilities, which include an extensive maturation hall, bottling and storage facilities, and an impressive function room – all nestled within the grounds of the historic Echlinville Estate.
The development has been supported by Invest NI and the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The business is also opening its doors to the public with the launch of visitor tours, which will offer a unique insight into the workings of Northern Ireland’s newest distillery, near Kircubbin.
‘We are delighted to officially open the doors of our new stillhouse and unveil the state-of-the-art facilities that will put Echlinville on the map as the home of the finest quality Irish whiskey,” said Shane Braniff, who founded Echlinville in 2012.
“Our impressive new building houses some of the finest distilling technology on the island of Ireland.
“The stillhouse has been designed to showcase the beauty of the purpose-built copper pot stills and the craftsmanship of the equipment, whilst maximising the view of the surrounding countryside and the land on which we grow the grain barley used to make our whiskeys.
“Traceability and provenance is at the heart of our production process, with every drop of spirit produced here originating from crops grown and floor malted on our own estate.
“We are proud to be able to offer visitors a unique insight into our ‘field to glass’ approach during our newly launched distillery tours.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for Echlinville Distillery and for tourism and employment in the Ards Peninsula.”
The stillhouse boasts an impressive function room – a unique entertainment venue right at the heart of a working distillery. And with plans in place to develop a Visitors’ Centre, whiskey museum and restaurant on the site, Mr Braniff said he was look forward to further enhancing the Echlinville visitor experience.
The new facility has secured Echlinville’s place as Northern Ireland’s second biggest spirits producer, with the capacity to produce around 15,000 bottles of the highest quality whiskey, gin, vodka and poitín every week.
Echlinville Distillery, became the first licensed whiskey distillery in Northern Ireland in over 125 years when it received its license to distil in 2013.
“Alongside its own Echlinville single pot still and single malt whiskies, Echlinville also plan to launch a super-premium Irish Potato vodka and a single estate gin.