Posted on Tuesday 3 June 2014 by Ulster Business

Whiskey in the Ards distillery promises to create 15 jobs in Kircubbin

MD of Echlinville Distillery Shane Braniff (left) plans to sell his Feckin whiskey overseas. He's pictured with John Hood, Invest NI. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography

A £1.5m investment by entrepreneur Shane Braniff will create 15 new jobs at the first distillery to be licensed in Northern Ireland for 130 years.

Echlinville Distillery is behind the Feckin whiskey brand and is also relaunching Dunville VR Irish Whiskey, once one of the best-known brands in the world until the closure of the distillery in Belfast 80 years ago when prohibition in the US cut off one of the spirit's biggest markets.

The new distillery is based at the Echlinville Estate at Rubane, just outside Kircubbin and hopes to tap into a growing demand for whiskey both in Northern Ireland and around the globe, Mr Braniff said.

"My decision to establish the new distillery, only the second in Northern Ireland, was influenced by the growth in demand for Irish whiskey in the US over the past few years. Irish whiskey is now the fastest growing brown spirit worldwide and demand is currently outstripping supply in the US and many other markets."

The Eurocables founder is also planning to use malt from barley grown on the 18-acre estate.

"The Dunville whiskey is also unique in that is the only one distilled using grain barley that we are growing at Kircubbin. This ensures complete traceability and provenance of all our spirits."

And he's planning to open a visitor centre and restaurant at the site.

Invest NI have offered £216,000 in management and marketing support towards the project.

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