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Strangford Lough Visitor Experiences showcased at Meet The Buyer 2021

As lead partner in The Strangford Lough Tourism Cluster, The Echlinville Distillery is delighted to announce that the cluster will be attending Virtual Meet the Buyer 2021, Tourism Northern Ireland’s flagship b2b networking event.

Located just 30 minutes outside Belfast city, you will find water teeming with wildlife, hills piled high with 9,000 years of history, holy wells and ancient abbeys. Strangford Lough is an internationally recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area of Special Scientific Interest. One of the most richly bio-diverse regions in Europe, it’s no wonder there’s an unmistakable tranquillity to this place.

In and around Strangford Lough, people take pride in taking it slow. From pace of life, to food and entertainment, they find strength in simplicity, pleasure in the purity of the air and the water. Away from the crowds, carving a path back to nature. As you take the Time & Tide trail around Strangford Lough meet local people who are proud to be from here and are generous with their time and stories awakening a giant spirit in those who visit.

Passing through the narrow mouth of this land, the tides of Strangford Lough grow in strength. This energy traverses the land and the people. It drives our incredible, fresh, local food, distils our spirits and gives you experiences on the land and on the water that you won’t forget.

The Strangford Lough Tourism Cluster was established in early 2019 and comprises key tourist operators and stakeholders from the Strangford Lough area, supported by Invest NI, Tourism NI, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The event will take place from 20th – 22nd April 2021 and is an ideal opportunity to showcase our tourism offering to international buyers. Information on our current members can be found here

Echlinville Distillery to expand with £9m investment and 36 jobs

European Regional Development Fund logo

The Echlinville Distillery is to invest over £9million and create 36 new jobs as it expands with the help of funding from Invest Northern Ireland.

The distillery plans to increase production capacity and grow its Irish whiskey and gin brands globally.

Invest Northern Ireland’s CEO, Kevin Holland said: “Since establishing in 2012, Echlinville 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 spirits. 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 & North Down Borough Council area. Roles on offer include operational, administrative and visitor centre roles and once in place, will contribute over £1million of additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.

“It is impressive to see a company in such a short period of time scale so quickly. 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.”

Shane Braniff, Owner of Echlinville Distillery said: “This investment will help us to substantially increase our production capacity and grow our export sales tenfold over the next five years. 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.

Shane added: “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.”

Echlinville has received this Invest NI Grant for Research and Development, supporting company innovation in services, products and processes. Part financed by the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme for Northern Ireland, financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Introducing Echlinville Hand Sanitiser

The Echlinville Distillery is joining the fight against Coronavirus by switching production to hand santiser.

Our first batch of alcohol based hand solution is being produced using the World Health Organisation’s formulation. There will be a very limited quantity available from a small number of local shops this evening (Friday 27 March). We expect this stock will sell out very quickly. Please be assured that we are working very hard to increase availability over the next week or so.

We are taking wholesale inquiries for frontline services, retail outlets and essential businesses for 350ml, 1 litre and 5 litre containers. Wholesale inquiries should be directed to info@echlinville.com or call 028 427 38597.

Our distillery shop is currently closed. We are sorry that Echlinville Hand Sanitiser is not available for the public to purchase directly from the distillery at this time, but we are working very hard to put sales and distribution channels in place to make it more widely available. We will post updates here as soon as possible.

Here are a few words from Echlinville owner, Shane Braniff: “We all know about the importance of hand hygiene in the fight against coronavirus and that hand sanitiser is a crucial tool, particularly for those on the front line in the fight against this pandemic. Unfortunately we also know that hand sanitiser has been in short supply. We have been working very hard over the past few weeks to switch production so we can do our bit to help address that shortage.

“At a time like this, it is human nature to want to do anything and everything to help. We are in the fortunate position to be able to use the resources we have – namely our wonderful team here at Echlinville and their ability to produce high strength alcohol – to diversify our approach for the production of sanitiser. We are pleased that we are in a position to do something to help protect the community and those on the front line in the fight against this pandemic.”

Shane Braniff, Owner of The Echlinville Distillery

“We are just at the start of this process, and it is a work in progress, so please bear with us. Our team have put in a huge amount effort over the past couple of weeks to make this happen and they are continuing to work around the clock to produce as much as possible. We are also working very hard to agree distribution partnerships to help us get this product to those who need it. We will provide updates on availability via our social media pages as soon as we can.”

Our office is operating on reduced staff numbers at the moment, so while we welcome any inquiries from businesses or retail outlets who are interested in stocking Echlinville Hand Sanitiser, we would ask members of the public to refrain from calling the office to keep the phone lines as free as possible.

We are already receiving a large number of inquiries about this. It may take a little longer than usual to reply to inquiries, but we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Distillery temporarily closed to the public

Due to the increasing concerns around COVID-19, we have made the decision to close The Echlinville Distillery to the public from today Friday 13th March until 4th April 2020 (inclusive).

The health and wellbeing of our staff, customers and the community is our priority at this time. All distillery tours and events have been cancelled until 4th April. If you have a booking during this time period, you will be contacted and offered a full refund or the opportunity to move your booking to another date. If you have any queries about your booking please email info@echlinville.com

The distillery shop is closed but our online shop is operating as normal and we are offering free delivery on all online orders while our distillery shop is closed.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope you will understand that the wellbeing of our staff, customers and the community is paramount. We hope we will be able to welcome you to our distillery in the future.

Thank you

Spring and Summer tour calendar now live

Echlinville’s Spring/Summer 2019 tour calendar is now online. We are delighted to announce that alongside our regular Saturday tours, the Echlinville Tour and Tasting will also be available on Fridays from Easter until the end of August and on selected bank holidays.

Our tours offer a real insight into the workings of Northern Ireland’s first licensed distillery in over 125 years. We personally welcome every guest before guiding you through our field-to-glass story, from the barley arriving from farm, its journey through our still house and on to  our whiskey maturation warehouse where the Angels are certainly enjoying their share.

We will tell you about our commitment to provenance and and how we sow, grow, harvest and floor malt all our own barley on our distillery farm. You can view our beautiful copper stills and enjoy the earthy aromas of our whiskey maturation warehouse – but be careful not to disturb our sleeping casks. And after you have discovered how we capture the flavour, colour and mouthfeel of our spirits, relax and enjoy two drinks of your choice in our bar.

Book your place now or call us on 028 4273 8597 to book using a gift voucher.

Time is running out to purchase your Patron’s Promise cask of Echlinville Whiskey

Our Patron’s Promise Private Reserve cask offer will close on 21st December 2018.

The Patron’s Promise offers whiskey connoisseurs and collectors the opportunity to purchase their very own cask of Echlinville Whiskey.

We have almost reached our quota for these limited edition casks, but we do still have a small number of 200 litre once-filled bourbon casks still available to purchase.

We will craft your whiskey to your requirements. Choose from Echlinville’s Single Malt or Pot Still spirit. We will keep watch over it as it ages in our maturation hall for a minimum of five years, after which you can choose from a range of specialty casks in which to finish your whiskey.

Our whiskey is truly special. Crafted from field to glass from barley grown, harvest and floor malted on our family farm, every drop is trickle pot distilled to produce a spirit that is true of character and exceptional in quality. We use only the finest barrels, time and patience to create whiskey with a complex array of flavours and character unique to Echlinville.

For your opportunity to be part of our journey and join the Patron’s Promise family, visit our Cask Offer page or contact us on +44 (0)28 4273 8597 info@echlinville.com or visit our stand at Whiskey Live Dublin this weekend to find out more.

Echlinville raises a glass on its fifth birthday

The Echlinville Distillery is celebrating as its whiskey turns five years old. The Kircubbin based whiskey and gin producer became the first new distillery in Northern Ireland for more than 125 years when it received its license and casked its first spirit on 5 August 2013.

Echlinville has since established itself at the forefront of Ireland’s burgeoning spirits industry and is home to some of the country’s best-known and respected brands including Dunville’s Irish Whiskey, Jawbox Gin, Echlinville Single Estate Irish Pot Still Gin and Bán Poitín.

Sunday 5 August will be a momentous day for Echlinville as their first casks of whiskey reach their milestone fifth birthday – a birthday they share with distillery owner Shane Braniff.

Reflecting on five years of business, Shane said: “After numerous years of planning and perseverance, in the summer of 2013 our vision to create Ireland’s first field-to-glass distillery finally became a reality when the first spirit trickled from Echlinville’s stills. We filled our first casks on 5 August and five years later the business has grown beyond our expectations.

“We started as a team of three. Now we have more than 20 staff who produce our spirit from the ground up. From growing, harvesting and floor malting our barley, to mashing and fermenting the grains, distilling and maturing the spirit, to hand bottling and labelling our products, everything is done right here at our farm distillery. Our roots are firmly, and quite literally, in the Ards Peninsula. We grow, produce and employ local and that is something we are incredibly proud of.”

The Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys from Echlinville’s innovative first distillations may have reached the landmark five year mark, but they will continue to mature in the distillery’s cask warehouse. Shane continues: “We recently debuted some of our Echlinville Whiskey at a tasting in Dingle, Co. Kerry, with some of our friends at the Irish Whiskey Society. We were delighted with how it was received, but we won’t be releasing it any time soon. Whiskey is all about time, and we are willing to give ours all the time it needs to be among the best in Ireland, if not the world.”

Global recognition

Although primarily a whiskey distillery, Echlinville’s portfolio has expanded to include gin, vodka and poitín, with their products exported across Europe and as far as the USA, New Zealand and the middle east.

Shane continues: “Irish whiskey is the world’s fastest growing spirits category. From the Ards Peninsula to the Dingle Peninsula, from Midleton to Dublin and from Derry to Waterford, Ireland’s whiskey industry is going from strength to strength, and we are delighted to be a part of it. We are building a strong reputation based on our field-to-glass approach and the quality of our spirits. With 17 international awards under our belt, Echlinville’s products are already held in high esteem within the global spirits industry, and that’s a great foundation upon which we can continue to build our export business.”

The Spirit of Belfast

“One of our founding goals in 2013 was to revive the historic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand after almost 80 years in the whiskey wilderness. Now with ten major accolades to its name, we are proud to have restored Dunville’s to its rightful place among the premier whiskeys of the world. That is certainly one of the major achievements of our first five years in business.

“We recently released our new Dunville’s PX 12 Year Old Single Malt expression, and with the upcoming launch of our award winning Dunville’s 18 Year Old Port Mourant Rum Finish Whiskey, there is much more to come from The Spirit of Belfast.”

Echlinville’s success isn’t limited to whiskey. Echlinville Single Estate Irish Pot Still Gin was awarded the coveted Three Star rating at last year’s Great Taste Awards. Echlinville is also the home of Jawbox, one of Ireland’s most popular gins. And its Bán Poitín has been crowned Ireland’s Best Poitín at the Irish Whiskey Awards for two years running.

Vision for whiskey tourism

Echlinville has also made a name for itself on the whiskey tourist trail, with its distillery tours attracting visitors from home and abroad.

Shane continues: “Echlinville’s sense of place and family feel seem to resonate with our many visitors. Our philosophy is to celebrate the sights, smells and tastes of Echlinville and the Ards Peninsula. The heart of whiskey may be grain and oak, but the soul of any spirit is its connection to the place where it is made. We are proud of our roots in the Ards Peninsula. That pride of place is the essence of everything we do. It has been our driving force for the past five years and propels our plans for the future.”

Echlinville plans to extend its tour experience by converting its 17th century courtyard buildings into a state-of-the-art visitors’ centre. The development will incorporate a museum, restaurant and tourist accommodation and is key to Shane’s vision to transform the distillery into one of the east coast’s premier visitor attractions.

He concludes: “This corner of Ireland has much to offer in terms of tourism and is already home to some fabulous attractions, but overall its potential remains relatively untapped. We want to help change that by working with nearby attractions and tourism bodies to develop the area as a must-see destination.

“The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy speaks of a vision for an all-island whiskey tourism product. For a long time now, whiskey tourism in Ulster has focussed on the north coast, and rightly so. But in a short space of time, our distillery has earned its place on an Irish whiskey map that has been transformed in recent years. We look forward to working together with our friends and colleagues across the industry to promote Ireland as a premier whiskey tourism destination.”

Echlinville Distillery searching for historical information and artefacts for new museum

The Echlinville Distillery is appealing for information regarding the history of The Echlinville Volunteers – a branch of The United Irishmen who are believed to have played an active role in the 1798 rebellion in County Down.

The Echlinville team hope to include an exhibition on The Echlinville Volunteers in the distillery museum, which will be housed in their newly planned visitors’ centre. They are also seeking old Irish whiskey memorabilia for the museum, particularly anything relating to the Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand.

The Echlinville Volunteers and the 1798 Rebellion

Anne-Marie Clarke from The Echlinville Distillery said: “The Echlinville Volunteers comprise an interesting but relatively unknown part of the rich history of the Echlin family, from whom our distillery takes its name.

“The Echlins first arrived in the Ards in 1613 when Bishop Robert Echlin, from Fife in Scotland, was appointed by King James I as the Bishop of Down and Connor and tasked with establishing the reformed church in this part of Ulster. He built his first church at the Abacy Road, just a couple of miles from where our distillery stands.

“In 1735 Robert’s great grandson Charles bought Rubane House outside Kircubbin, where our distillery is now located, and renamed it Echlinville. In 1779 Charles founded The Echlinville Volunteers, a section of The Society of United Irishmen. Established in Belfast in 1791 and inspired by the French Revolution and the new democracy of the United States, the United Irishmen brought together ‘Catholics, Protestants and Dissenters’ with the aim of removing English control from Irish affairs. They led the rebellion of 1798, which was concentrated in counties Wexford, Antrim and Down with battles in Ballynahinch and Saintfield.

“We at the distillery are keen to find out more about The Echlinville Volunteers and their role in the 1798 rebellion. We haven’t been able to uncover a lot of detail on the volunteers – who they were, their role in the rebellion and what became of them afterwards. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any information on the volunteer or indeed on the United Irishmen and the 1798 rebellion in the Ards, and would ask them to contact the distillery on 028 4273 8597 or email info@echlinville.com

Call for old Irish whiskey memorabilia

Already well established on the Irish whiskey tourism scene through its weekly distillery tours, the next phase in the distillery’s development will be a new visitors’ centre, which will be housed in the 17th century stable buildings in the original courtyard of the Echlinville estate, where Captain Charles Echlin would most likely have kept his horses.

Anne-Marie continued: “Our planned visitors’ centre will include a museum, which will showcase the rich history of the Echlinville estate and the Echlin family. But it will also tell the story of the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand, which we produce here at Echlinville.

“Dunville’s Whiskey was originally produced by the Dunville family (of Redburn House in Holywood) at The Royal Belfast Distillery, just behind where the Europa Hotel now stands. Once among the premier whiskeys of the world, the closure of The Royal Belfast Distillery in 1936 meant that the Dunville’s brand all but disappeared.

“When we established our distillery in 2013, it was one of our founding goals to revive the Dunville’s name and restore it to its rightful place as a cornerstone of Irish whiskey heritage. Since its revival in 2015, Dunville’s Irish Whiskey has gone on to win a number of major accolades including an unprecedented five World Whiskies Awards.

“To help us tell the exceptional story of Dunville’s whiskey, we are searching for memorabilia from the original Dunville’s era of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Merchandise at the time would have included everything from ornate mirrors to whiskey jars and from glassware to playing cards. We are keen to hear from anyone who may have any such items.”

Anyone with information, documents or artefacts relating to The Echlinville Volunteers or Dunville’s Irish Whiskey should contact The Echlinville Distillery on +44 (0)28 4273 8597 or email info@echlinville.com