£15m distillery set to bring 42 jobs

£15m distillery set to bring 42 jobs

27 November 2019

A £15m investment in a new whiskey and gin distillery outside Ballynahinch will create 42 new jobs over the next five years.

The distillery, which is due to be completed between next spring and early summer, will span two floors which will house the large Irish Whiskey and Gin distillery, bottling line, storage facilities and offices. 

A new visitor centre which also forms part of the exciting new development has the capacity to accommodate over 100,000 visitors per annum.

Dr Terry Cross — one of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs — is the man behind the Hinch Distillery project which also includes the exciting visitor experience.

Dr Cross has invested in a 30,000 sq ft distillery located between Ballynahinch and the Temple which will produce his Craft Hinch Irish Whiskey brands and Ninth Wave Gin, as well as opening up the distillery to members of the public. 

Invest NI is backing the new development with almost £2m in assistance for the construction of the new distillery and investment in plant, machinery and equipment. 

Once in place, it is estimated that the 42 new jobs that the investment will create will generate nearly £1.3million in additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.

Ambitious plans for the new distillery were formally unveiled last week, providing an insight into the development which is also set to boost the Province’s food and beverage and retail offering.

The distillery’s visitor centre facilities will include a coffee shop, public restaurant, pub, outside courtyard space, multi-purpose events spaces catering for weddings to corporate events and retail shop, merchandising an extensive range of distillery products.

In addition, fully trained guides will bring visitors on an interactive and informative journey that gives insight to both the history of Irish whiskey and its unique distilling process with tutored tasting at the conclusion of the tour. 

The ‘gin tour’ will allow visitors to both learn about the skills and methods involved in producing fine Irish Gin and at the same time produce their very own individual gin recipe which will be bottled for them to take away at the end of the tour.

Designed by Drinksology, the name behind the interior of the Dead Rabbit and Blacktail Bars in New York, Hinch Distillery — named after neighbouring Ballynahinch —  will use local materials and artisan craftsmen to ensure the project is a real celebration of the best which can be produced in NI.

The new development represents a huge investment by Dr Cross who is keen to grow his share of the global Irish whiskey and gin markets. 

“Irish whiskey has continually been the fastest growing spirit category in the world over the past 10 years, nearly trebling in size,” he explained.

“This trend is forecast to continue in the future with Irish Whiskey beginning to approach and indeed overtake sales of scotch in many international markets.

“The world gin market has also witnessed phenomenal growth in the past few years yet still has huge potential to grow in markets where gin is still a relatively small category.”

Dr Cross said that the new distillery is being launched to provide visitors with a “highly differentiated product” and experience that couples the production of quality spirits with a story and heritage. 

“We hope that it will become an attraction in its own right and offer guests a real understanding of the skills and methods needed to produce our spirits,” he said.

Dr Cross is no stranger to the drinks industry, having rescued Château de La Ligne, a Bordeaux vineyard, over 20 years ago and restoring it to its former glory.

He has been carrying on the tradition of the estate by producing a variety of classic Bordeaux wines and to ensure his next venture is every bit as successful, he has appointed an expert team to run the Hinch operation.

Dr Cross will be company chairman, with Derek Hardy undertaking the role of managing director.

Mr Hardy said Hinch Irish Whiskeys and Ninth Wave Gin are already making waves globally. 

“We have a presence in 15 markets including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and European countries,” he remarked.

“Our goal is to double our export markets by the end of 2020 and the timing of the Hinch Distillery opening couldn’t come at a better time for us.”

Mr Hardy added: “We want to celebrate our successful products at home where they are made and invite Northern Ireland to be part of that.”