Craft gin producers begin production on whiskey
THE makers of Shortcross Gin have announced plans to start production of a new Irish malt whiskey.
The first casks of their new small batch whiskey were sealed this summer at the Rademon Estate Distillery outside Downpatrick.
With production under way, it is expected 100 barrels will be casked within the first year. It means the first batch of three-year-old whiskey will be ready by 2018.
Shortcross plans to spend £4 million on the plant over the next three years - including £1.5m on the latest development - creating six new jobs in the process.
The company, which currently employs four people, was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Fiona and David Boyd-Armstrong at their family estate.
It has made a huge impact across the world with its Shortcross Gin drink and is exported globally to countries including France and the Netherlands.
The development of the whiskey is being supported by £50,000 from Invest Northern Ireland.
Rademon Estate also has plans to use larger pot stills and other equipment to increase capacity to 35,000 litres of pure alcohol per year.
There are proposals too to turn the distillery into a tourist attraction with a visitor experience centre to open in the coming years.
The company will produce the entire whiskey on site, from grain to glass.
The drink will be matured in a variety of casks which the makers hope will allow "new and innovative flavours and aromas to be created and water from the estate’s own well will be used".
Fiona Boyd-Armstrong said: “The research and development behind the creation of our Irish whiskey has been extensive and the valuable support from Invest NI has helped us reach this exciting stage. We are proud to announce this project and that this will be amongst the first Irish whiskeys to be distilled in Northern Ireland.”
David Boyd-Armstrong said he was "thrilled we have developed what I know will be a fantastic Irish malt whiskey and I’m greatly looking forward to August 2018 when we will be able to sample our first three-year-old Irish malt whiskey. This style of whiskey is a personal favourite of mine due to the complex flavour profile and I feel it is under represented in the market.”