Business

R&R Distillery secure approval for extension following Van Damme link-up

Jean-Claude Van Damme (left), whose Old Oak Irish whiskey is supplied by R&R Distillery in Co Down.
Jean-Claude Van Damme (left), whose Old Oak Irish whiskey is supplied by R&R Distillery in Co Down. Jean-Claude Van Damme (left), whose Old Oak Irish whiskey is supplied by R&R Distillery in Co Down.

THE Co Down distillery supplying Jean-Claude Van Damme’s new Irish whiskey brand has revealed plans to expand its operation.

R&R Distillery has secured planning approval to extend its premises at Maryland Industrial Estate, located in the Castlereagh hills between Moneyreagh and Belfast.

The plans approved by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will allow the company to extend its North Down distillery to provide additional storage space as it looks to develop new products. 

Launched in 2021 by Robin and Reyna Herron following a £1 million investment, R&R Distillery makes Irish whiskey and vodka under its own Backyard brand.

Its latest Irish whiskey blend, finished in Jamaican rum casks, recently scored gold at the London Spirits Competition.

However, the distillery’s business stepped up a gear in 2023 after linking up with Derry man Kevin Carson to supply his new venture, Old Oak Irish Whiskey.

Read more:

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme arrives in Belfast to launch new Irish whiskey venture
  • New £1m family-owned distillery will bring 40 jobs
  • Rademon Distillery looks to global market with launch of the Irish Whiskey Bonding Company

The new brand secured an instant high profile last month when it announced a partnership with martial arts screen legend Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The Belgian-born movie star (63) has taken his new whiskey on a worldwide media tour, helping establish the brand in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

In the document submitted in support of its application, R&R Distillery said: “The additional storage is required because the business has been increasingly successful and it needs to diversify the range of products.

R&R Distillery makes Irish whiskey and vodka under the Backyard brand from its base in the Castlereagh hills, close to the La Mon Hotel.
R&R Distillery makes Irish whiskey and vodka under the Backyard brand from its base in the Castlereagh hills, close to the La Mon Hotel. R&R Distillery makes Irish whiskey and vodka under the Backyard brand from its base in the Castlereagh hills, close to the La Mon Hotel.

“To do this, it is necessary to store a wider range of imported barrels of various types.

“These barrels take up a lot of space before they can be filled with the whiskey prior to maturing.”

The company said it also needs more space to store bottles and packaging.

The R&R Distillery is based at the Maryland Industrial Estate in the Castlereagh hills.
The R&R Distillery is based at the Maryland Industrial Estate in the Castlereagh hills. The R&R Distillery is based at the Maryland Industrial Estate in the Castlereagh hills.