New Fermanagh destination distillery prepares for first release

The new Scotts Irish Whisky release, pictured at the scenic Lough Melvin.

A NEW Fermanagh whiskey distillery is preparing to launch its first release as part of a £15 million tourism investment in the west of the county.

The Scotts Irish Distillery, located close to Lough Melvin, has been developed by Garrison native Conal Treacy.

The Fermanagh man (53), who carved out a successful career in the building materials world in London, returned to his home village two years ago with plans to develop a destination distillery at the scenic 26-acre location.

The distillery end of the development is already complete, with ‘Scotts Irish Whisky’ set to be launched in London on Thursday by Dermot O’Leary and celebrity Irish chef Richard Corrigan.

The TV personality is a patron of the London Irish Centre, which will host the launch, with the first bottle set to be auctioned for charity.

A limited release of 3,000 bottles will go on sale on November 26.

The whiskey takes its name from Angus Scott, who was known in the Garrison area as a poitín maker.

He later fled from the authorities and went on to help develop the American bourbon trade.

His descendants, including Hammy Scott, later became known as the whiskey bonders of the area.

“We’re building a destination distillery,” said Mr Treacy. “Along with the distillery tours, we’re going to build a cookery school, and bring in internationally renown chefs.

“We also have plans for accommodation, a visitor centre and we’re building a walk along the river and into Garrison.

“It will be a complete visitor’s experience."

Describing the area as “the undiscovered lake district of Ireland”, the Fermanagh man said location is ideal for the project.

“We have a nice waterfall behind the distillery, where salmon come up to spawn. And at the front, we have the view of Lough Melvin and the Leitrim Mountains.

“It’s the most beautiful place in the world.”

The Garrison man said the area had been a tourism hub in the first half of the 20th century, with Charlie Chaplin a regular visitor.

“It really was a fishing tourism hub in the 1940s and 1950s.”

Mr Treacy said he wants to revive that tourism trade.

“And, at the same time we want our drinks, which are inspired by the very environment that surrounds us, to become ambassadors of quality, great taste and the highest of standards.”

Scotts Irish Whisky launches in London this Thursday, with plans for a local launch in Co Fermanagh in early December.

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