The Echlinville Distillery, supported by Bank of Ireland UK, has secured the future of the historic Ards Maltings building, once a major supplier of malted barley in Ireland.
The £5m (€5.7m) investment aims to restore on-site malting operations, allowing Echlinville to become the sole Irish distillery with the capability to produce, malt, ferment, and distil their spirit entirely from locally sourced barley. According to Echlinville, this strategic move aligns with the distillery’s commitment to local investment and forms a crucial part of its business growth plans, enabling industrial-scale malting alongside the current farm-based malt production.
Shane Braniff, owner, Echlinville Distillery, said: “Irish whiskey is the world’s fastest growing spirits category and locally we have a long history of quality whiskey production. The Ards Peninsula has historically been known as one of the finest grain growing regions in Ireland, so it’s no coincidence that Ards Maltings was established at the northern end of the Peninsula, malting barley from the surrounding farms and becoming one of the country’s largest malting houses.
“In its day, Ards Malting provided malted barley to distilleries and breweries around Ireland, including such companies as Guinness, Bushmills and Comber Distilleries – the home of Old Comber Whiskey, a brand that we revived and now produce at Echlinville. We are delighted to be able to bring that particular story full circle.
“The team at Bank of Ireland UK have been strong supporters of our business as it has grown over the years and take the time to understand our plans for business development offering support, guidance and the right financial products to support our ambitions” concluded Braniff.
Gavin North, senior business manager, Bank of Ireland UK, said: “We’re pleased to have provided the funding to support this next phase of their sustainable business plan and look forward to working closely with the team as they continue to achieve success locally and globally, placing Echlinville Distillery firmly on the internationally acclaimed whiskey tourism map.”