The Echlinville Distillery in Kircubbin, Co Down, is to invest more than £9m and create 36 new jobs as it expands its facilities in the Ards Peninsula.

Award-winning Co Down SME Echlinville Distillery is to expand and grow its brands of Irish whiskey and gin globally.

The company is to invest more than £9m and create 36 new jobs in the process.

“Irish whiskey is recognised as the world’s fastest growing spirits category”

“This investment will help us to substantially increase our production capacity and grow our export sales tenfold over the next five years,” said owner Shane Braniff.

“We are adding capacity in distillation, bottling, labelling, storage and brand development, all of which are key to further establishing our brands in major international markets including Russia and the US.

Invest NI has offered Echlinville £659,000 of support towards the purchasing of new equipment, the extension of its storage facilities to meet anticipated demand for its products and the creation of 36 jobs.

Field to glass

Braniff continued: “As Northern Ireland’s first farm distillery, our whiskey has ‘field to glass’ traceability – something that is increasingly important in the global food and drink industry. We have built a strong reputation based on that approach and the quality of our products. Irish whiskey is recognised as the world’s fastest growing spirits category, which is giving us a great foundation upon which to build our export business with the help of this funding from Invest NI. 

“Every bottle that leaves our distillery features our address in Kircubbin and tells of our roots in the Ards Peninsula. Alongside increasing exports around the world, we also hope to raise awareness of what this part of Ireland has to offer and attract more visitors to the area with the development of a dedicated visitor centre. We look forward to continued growth in the years ahead and I would like to thank Invest NI for its continued support throughout our journey so far.”

Invest Northern Ireland’s CEO, Kevin Holland said: “Since establishing in 2012, Echlinville Distillery has developed a number of well-established brands which are making their mark on the international whiskey and gin market. This investment will enable it to grow further and develop its portfolio of award winning products. With an emphasis on brand development, it will also drive growth in global sales of its premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey and gin.

“The investment includes the development of a new immersive visitor’s centre and the creation of 36 new jobs which is great news for the local Ards and North Down Borough Council area. Roles on offer include operational, administrative and visitor centre roles and once in place, will contribute over £1m of additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.

“It is impressive to see a company scale so quickly in such a short period of time. We have assisted its trade activities, recently supporting it to secure a distribution agreement in Canada. The company’s Dunville whiskey is now on the shelves of almost 900 stores across Canada. Our partnership approach is clearly working and I look forward to seeing Echlinville’s export ambitions continuing to reap rewards,” said Holland.

Pictured at top (L-R) are: Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI with Shane Braniff, owner of Echlinville Distillery

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 13 October, 2020

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