New £1m family-owned Comber distillery will bring 40 jobs

Husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Robin and Rayne Herron from Bangor have opened a new distillery in Co Down following the investment of almost £1m which also includes the production of two premium spirits using locally sourced ingredients aimed at the home and export market. Picture: Matt Mackey/PressEye

A NEW family-owned distillery has opened in Co Down following the investment of almost £1 million which includes the production of two premium spirits using locally sourced ingredients aimed at the home and export market, and which is set to generate 40 jobs over the next three to five years.

R&R Distillery Ireland Ltd is located on the Ballygowan Road in the Castlereagh hills in state-of-the-art purpose-built premises where the two new spirits are expertly crafted.

Backyard Whiskey is distilled from carefully fermented grains aged in wooden casket, and Backyard Vodka is made with organically grown wheat and branded with the iconic Harland & Wolff Samson and Goliath cranes, to promote the authenticity of these uniquely Northern Ireland products.

The husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who own the distillery, Robin and Reyna Herron from Bangor, say it has been a labour of love from inception to finally getting their drinks into the hands of customers.

Robin said: “We pondered the concept for several years before travelling around Europe fact-finding and exploring the finer details and specifications, and eventually having our copper stills hand made for us in Canada.

“But the most important thing in creating any great spirit is great ingredients, and we have been delighted to be able to source the purest and highest quality ingredients locally.”

Reyna Herron added: “We are mindful of our commitment to local sourcing and our environmental responsibilities, and I believe we have come up with some really exciting and innovative solutions to recycling by-products through a biotechnology company to produce natural nutrients in farmed fish feed.”

Meanwhile drinks distributor United Wines in Craigavon has secured an exclusive all-Ireland distribution deal with Titanic Distillers, Belfast’s newest premium Irish Whiskey brand.

The partnership will see United Wines handle all distribution for the new whiskey through its extensive on- and off-trade customer base in Northern Ireland and the Republic, which includes more than 1,000 bars, restaurants, hotels, off licenses, cash & carries, regional wholesalers and national multiples.

Based in the famous Titanic Quarter of Belfast, Titanic Distillers has submitted plans to convert the historic Titanic Pump-House and Thompson Dock into a new distillery and world class tourist attraction.

“To say we are excited to have secured the exclusive distribution rights for Titanic Distillers Premium Irish Whiskey is an understatement,” said United Wines managing director Martin McAuley.

“To secure such a premium brand as Titanic Distillers is a real coup. The whiskey itself is second to none but the plans that the company has for a distillery on the very site where the Titanic was built, gives the brand a uniqueness and an authenticity that is impossible to recreate.

“Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category of the last 10 years with sales expected to double in the next 20 years. We’re really looking forward to working together with Titanic Distillers to promote this truly unique brand and product,” he added.

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