Echlinville Distillery to create 36 jobs with £9 million expansion in Ards Peninsula

A CO Down spirits company has announced a £9 million expansion plan, creating 36 jobs.

The Echlinville Distillery produces range of premium whiskey and gin products on the Ards Peninsula.

It’s preparing to expand its Kircubbin distillery to substantially increase production capacity with a view to increasing its export sales ten-fold over the next five years.

The company’s Dunville’s Irish whiskey is already stocked by around 900 stores across Canada.

Distillery owner Shane Braniff said the company will enhance capacity in distillation, bottling, labelling, storage and brand development.

He said the expansion will be key to establishing Echlinville’s brands in major international markets including Russia and the US.

The Kircubbin distrillery is also planning the development of a new visitor’s centre.

“As Northern Ireland’s first farm distillery, our whiskey has ‘field to glass’ traceability – something that is increasingly important in the global food and drink industry,” he said.

“We have built a strong reputation based on that approach and the quality of our products. Irish whiskey is recognised as the world’s fastest growing spirits category, which is giving us a great foundation upon which to build our export business with the help of this funding from Invest NI.”

The economic support agency has offered the distillery £659,000 of financial support for the move.

Invest NI’s chief executive Kevin Holland said the 36 jobs will eventually contribute around £1m in wages for the Ards and North down area.

“Since establishing in 2012, Echlinville Distillery has developed a number of well-established brands which are making their mark on the international whiskey and gin market,” said Mr Holland.

“This investment will enable it to grow further and develop its portfolio of award winning products. With an emphasis on brand development, it will also drive growth in global sales of its premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey and gin.”