£15m distillery and visitor centre creates 42 jobs in Ballynahinch

Economy minister Diane Dodds with Hinch Distillery chairman Dr Terry Cross. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A 30,000 sq ft whiskey and gin distillery and adjoining visitor centre in Ballynahinch, set up by former west Belfast packaging boss Terry Cross, has been formally opened by economy minister Diane Dodds.

It represents an investment of £15 million, backed by close to £2m of government support, and when fully operational it is expected to lead to the creation of 42 jobs, contributing £1.3m a year in salaries.

Since establishing in 2016, the distillery has experienced impressive growth, and has secured distribution deals in regions including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France and Germany.

“Investments like this will help us sow the seeds of recovery and rebuild our economy following the impact of the pandemic,” the minister said.

“Through sheer hard work and determination, Hinch has moved from idea stage to develop a range of products and grown to export its products to over 25 countries. I congratulate Terry and his team and wish them every success.”

Owner Dr Cross OBE said: “This marks a proud moment as we finally realised a blueprint that is set to make its mark on the Northern Ireland tourism map and the global drinks industry.

“Our Hinch range of Irish whiskies and Ninth Wave Irish Gin brand are already leaving an imprint on the international drinks market.

“And despite being relative newcomers, we are making waves at revered awards events globally including a Double Gold and ‘Gin of the Year' trophy for our Ninth Wave Irish Gin at the China Wine and Spirit Awards.

“Being able to commence operations is just the beginning of our story. We look forward to celebrating our successful products at home, where they are made, and invite Northern Ireland to be part of that.”

Invest NI chief executive Kevin Holland said: “We have been working with Hinch Distillery to help it grow its business, create jobs and rapidly grow its exports.

“The distillery and visitor centre adds to Northern Ireland's growing drinks tourism industry with its distinct product offering and guest experience.”

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