42 Jobs As New Co Down Distillery Announced

A well-known businessman in Northern Ireland is set to open a whiskey and gin distillery that will create 42 jobs in Co Down.

The £15 million distillery and visitor experience will be located between Belfast and Ballynahinch and will boast a food and beverage and retail offering, providing Northern Ireland with an authentic spirit experience.

The visitor experience will involve tours of the distillery that can accommodate over 100,000 people each year.

Dr Terry Cross OBE, the man behind Delta Print & Packaging Ltd, has launched the investment to produce his Craft Hinch Irish Whiskey brands and Ninth Wave Gin, as well as opening up the distillery to members of the public.

The 42 new roles will generate almost £1.3 million in additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered £1.9m of support towards the construction and purchase of plant machinery and equipment at the distillery, plans for which are to be revealed at a launch event in Belfast.

The distillery, which is due to be completed between spring and early summer 2020, will span two floors and house the large Irish Whiskey and Gin distillery, bottling line, storage facilities and offices.

The visitor centre facilities will include a coffee shop, public restaurant, pub, outside courtyard space, multi-purpose events spaces that cater for weddings to corporate events and a retail shop, merchandising an extensive range of distillery products.

Fully trained guides will bring visitors on an interactive and informative journey that gives insight to both the history of Irish whiskey and its unique distilling process with tutored tasting at the conclusion of the tour. The 'gin tour' will allow visitors to both learn about the skills and methods involved in producing fine Irish Gin and at the same time produce their very own individual gin recipe which will be bottled for them to take away at the end of the tour.

Hinch Distillery represents a huge investment for Dr Cross OBE who is keen to grow his share of the global Irish whiskey and gin markets.
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He said: "Irish whiskey has continually been the fastest growing spirit category in the world over the last 10 years, nearly trebling in size. This trend is forecast to continue in the future with Irish Whiskey beginning to approach and indeed overtake sales of Scotch in many international markets. The world gin market has also witnessed phenomenal growth in the last few years yet still has huge potential to grow in markets where gin is still a relatively small category.

"We are launching the Hinch Distillery to provide visitors with a highly differentiated product and experience that couples the production of our quality spirits with a story and heritage. We hope it will become an attraction in its own right and offer guests a real understanding of the skills and methods needed to produce our spirits."

Dr Cross is no stranger to the drinks industry having rescued Château de La Ligne, a Bordeaux vineyard over 20 years ago and restoring it to its former glory. He has been carrying on the tradition of the estate by producing a variety of classic Bordeaux wines, and to ensure his next venture is every bit as successful, he has appointed an expert team to run the Hinch operation.

He will act as Company Chairman, while Derek Hardy will undertake the role of Managing Director.

The Head Distiller has also been confirmed as Belfast-born Aaron Flaherty, who has over 15 years experience in the whiskey distilling business, including roles at Bushmills and Scotch Distillery sites.

Mr Flaherty commented: "Hinch Distillery is a unique experience producing premium products and this development will validate that and expose the effort and patience that is behind the creation of our five whiskey variants and our Ninth Wave Gin.

"Our Time Collection of whiskeys caters to a range of palates. The taste profiles vary with smooth, smoky and aromatic variations appealing to the discerning whiskey connoisseur and indeed to new customers.

"Our mystical Ninth Wave gin is as equally otherworldly and we're very proud of the methods that go into making our products. They show that Hinch Distillery is so much more than a drinks producer. We have a distillery with a story and the opening of the site is just our first chapter."


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