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Northern Ireland's newest distillery Echlinville opens doors to public

First Minister Arlene Foster opened the new Still House at Echlinville Distillery at Kircubbin. She is pictured with Shane Braniff, founder of Echlinville Distillery

ONE of a new wave of Irish distilleries has officially opened to the public for the first time.

Echlinville Distillery near Kircubbin threw open the doors to its multi-million pound stillhouse and visitor centre.

The facility was the first new licensed whiskey distillery in Northern Ireland in more than 125 years when it received its license to distil in 2013.

The company described the stillhouse as the "jewel-in-the-crown" of its site within the grounds of the historic Echlinville Estate.

The building also includes a maturation hall, bottling and storage facilities, and function room.

Alongside its own Echlinville single pot still and single malt whiskies, the firm also plans to launch a super-premium Irish Potato vodka and a single estate gin.

Already, the distillery in the north's second biggest spirits producer with the capacity to turn out around 15,000 bottles of the highest quality whiskey, gin, vodka and poitín every week.

Founder Shane Braniff said the 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," he said.

“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."

He said the Echlinville team was carefully crafting new single malt and Irish pot still whiskies, which will come of age this year.

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