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Whiskey distillery to create 42 jobs in Co Down

The plans include opening up the distillery to members of the public. Credit: Press Eye

Plans have been unveiled for a new £15m whiskey and gin distillery in Co Down.

The Hinch Distillery will be a 30,000 sq ft facility located between Belfast and Ballynahinch, and will include a visitor centre, pub and events spaces.

It is being launched by local businessman Terry Cross, the man behind Delta Print.

The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2020 and will create 42 jobs over the next five years.

One in place, the jobs will generate nearly £1.3m in salaries into the local economy.

Unveiling the plans on Thursday, Dr Cross said: “Irish whiskey has continually been the fastest growing spirit category in the world over the last 10 years, nearly trebling in size.

“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 last few years yet still has huge potential to grow in markets where gin is still a relatively small category.”

The distillery will span two floors which will house the large Irish whiskey and gin distillery, bottling line, storage facilities and offices.

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

It will also offer guided tours, and is able to accommodate over 100,000 visitors per year.

“We are launching the Hinch Distillery to provide visitors with a highly differentiated product and experience that couples the production of our quality spirits with a story and heritage,” continued Terry Cross.

“We hope 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.”

Invest NI has offered £1.9m of support towards the construction of the new distillery and investment in plant, machinery and equipment.

“Drinks tourism is a growing sector for NI and Hinch Distillery can play a role in expanding the variety of what’s on offer here already,” Brian Dolaghan from the organisation said.

“As well as our support towards the construction of the distillery and visitor centre, we are also helping the company market its new products.

“Over 95% of Irish whiskey production is exported so we have been supporting Hinch to explore export markets where they are already seeing good traction.”