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Echlinville success at World Drinks Awards

The Echlinville Distillery is celebrating another successful sweep at the World Drinks Awards with 11 wins across three competitions.

Our whiskeys picked up a total of eight World Whiskies Awards, including five ‘Ireland’s Best’ Category Wins and three Silver Medals. There also ‘Ireland’s Best’ titles for Weavers Spirits in the World Gin Awards and World Vodka Awards.

The latest wins bring Echlinville’s total awards haul to 113 global accolades since our distillery was founded in 2013, and further cements our place at the forefront of Ireland’s spirits renaissance.

The full list of winners includes:

World Whiskies Awards

  • Old Comber Irish Whiskey – Ireland’ Best Blended Whiskey (No Age Statement)
  • Dunville’s PX 10 Year Old Single Malt – Ireland’s Best Single Malt 12 Years & Under – 10 Year Old PX Cask
  • Dunville’s 20 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish – Ireland’s Best Single Malt 13-20 Years
  • Dunville’s PX 10 Year Old Cask Strength – Ireland’s Best Small Batch Single Malt 12 Years & Under
  • Dunville’s PX 22 Year Old Cask Strength – Ireland’s Best Single Cask 21 Years & Over
  • Dunville’s 1808 – Silver Medal
  • Dunville’s PX 22 Year Old Single Malt – Silver Medal
  • Dunville’s 1808 Dick Mack’s East To West Honey & Hemp IPA Finish – Silver Medal

World Gin Awards

  • Weavers Gin – Ireland’s Best Classic Gin
  • Echlinville Gin – Silver Medal

World Vodka Awards

  • Weavers Vodka – Ireland’s Best Varietal Vodka

All of our ‘Ireland’s Best’ Category Winners will now go through to the global final at the World Drinks Awards, competing against other country winners for the title of World’s Best whiskey, gin or vodka.

Echlinville purchases Ards Maltings building

The Echlinville Distillery has secured the future of an historic building which was once one of Ireland’s largest malting houses, supplying malted barley to distilleries and breweries around Ireland.

With the support of Bank of Ireland UK, Echlinville has purchased the Ards Maltings building on the Portaferry Road just outside Newtownards, with a view to restoring the malting process on site and increasing their capacity to malt locally produced barley.

The £5 million investment means that Echlinville will be the only distillery in Ireland with the capacity to produce, malt, ferment and distil their spirit from field to glass, with local investment an important pillar of the business growth plans. While the distillery team currently floor malt their barley on the distillery farm, this latest development will enable Echlinville to malt barley on an industrial scale.

Photo Credit: Albert Bridge, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shane Braniff, owner of The Echlinville Distillery explains: “Echlinville was the first new distillery in Northern Ireland for more than 125 years when we received our licence and casked our first spirit back in 2013.  We’ve always been proud of our roots here in the Ards Peninsula and we complete every stage of the production process from the ground up on site at our distillery, from growing and harvesting the barley on our family farm, right through to hand labelling and bottling the finest spirits that we produce.

“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.”

Shane Braniff, The Echlinville Distillery

“Ards Maltings is among the Ards’ most iconic buildings, standing proudly on the Northern shore of Strangford Lough and welcoming people to the Peninsula. We are excited to be able to restore the building for the purpose for which it was first built while continuing on our journey to put County Down back on the world whiskey map. Our focus has always been on providing quality, exceptional flavour and instilling excellence from field to glass in the production of the finest quality spirits, and Ards Maltings will play an important role in the future growth of our business.

“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.”

Echlinville’s Shane Braniff (centre) with Gavin North (left) and Niall Devlin (right) of Bank of Ireland UK.

Gavin North, Senior Business Manager at Bank of Ireland UK said: “Shane and the team at Echlinville Distillery have been quietly leading the regeneration of quality local whiskey production and their pursuit of excellence in every aspect is admired and recognised by the significant international awards they have achieved to date.

“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.”

A tribute to Greg McClelland

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and colleague Greg McClelland.

An experienced and distinguished distiller, Greg was a valued and respected member of the Echlinville family. He will be sadly missed by all of us at the distillery and by all those who were fortunate enough know him. We will miss his kind smile, his friendly nature, his words of wisdom, his enthusiasm and attention to detail in everything he was involved in.

Our thoughts are very much with Greg’s beloved family. His wife Cheree, daughter Nadine, his parents, brother and all his family and friends.

We will raise a glass in your honour today, Greg. The angels have taken more than their fair share this time. You will always have a place in the hearts of everyone here at Echlinville. May you rest in peace.

*As a mark of respect, the distillery shop, café and walking trails will remain closed until Thursday 26 January.

Job Opportunity for Executive Assistant

We are searching for an Executive Assistant to join our busy team. Applicants should send their CV to [email protected] before 5pm on Wednesday 21 July 2021.

Duties Include

Dealing with correspondence, emails and phone calls.

Diary management.

Organising meetings and appointment.

Arranging and booking travel, transport and accommodation.

Typing, preparing documents, presentations and correspondence.

Keeping minutes of meetings.

Filing and document management.

Liaising with staff, suppliers, customers and other business partners.

Assisting with the organisation of events.

Arranging catering and hospitality for meetings.

Miscellaneous tasks as required.

Person Specification

Executive Assistant experience preferred / essential.

Confident and assertive individual, good sense of humour.

Organised and efficient, able to multi-task.

Happy to take on an array of tasks.

Discretion and trustworthiness.

Flexibility and adaptability.

Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office.

Tact and diplomacy.

Full driving licence and access to a vehicle.

Additional Information

Location – Kircubbin, Co. Down

Part-time initially

Salary based on experience

To apply please send your CV to [email protected] by Wednesday 21st July 2021 at 5pm. The Echlinville Distillery is an equal opportunities employer.

Matt D’Arcy Old Irish Whiskey joins Echlinville portfolio

We are delighted to welcome the historic Matt D’Arcy Irish Whiskey brand to Echlinville’s portfolio of award-winning whiskeys.

The Echlinville Distillery and Newry based Matt D’Arcy & Co Limited have forged an alliance that will see Echlinville mature, bottle and market Matt D’Arcy’s Old Irish Whiskey and grow the brand in the global Irish whiskey market.

Famous Newry Whiskey

Founded in Newry, Co. Down in 1817, Matt. D’Arcy’s was revived by Newry man Michael McKeown in 2020. It is the latest heritage whiskey brand to join the Echlinville line up.

Matt D’Arcy’s will sit alongside our award winning Dunville’s Irish Whiskey range and the recently restored Old Comber Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The move sees three of Ireland’s most historic ‘lost’ whiskey brands brought under Echlinville’s guardianship.

Echlinville Distillery owner Shane Braniff said, “We are delighted to welcome Matt D’Arcy’s into the Echlinville family and we look forward to sharing the story and celebrating the legacy of this proud Co. Down whiskey with our customers around the world.

“I have long had a passion for old Irish whiskey brands, particularly those from Co. Down, so I have followed with interest the revival of Matt D’Arcy Irish Whiskey over the past few years.

“At Echlinville, we know from first-hand experience the hard work, passion and dedication that goes in to restoring a historic name like Matt D’Arcy’s, and in doing so in a way that respects and celebrates the brand’s proud heritage. I congratulate Michael McKeown and his team at Matt D’Arcy & Co. Ltd in Newry for everything they have done to bring back this historic whiskey and we welcome Michael’s continued input into the future of the brand about which he is hugely passionate. We have also offered Michael our technical support as he pursues the redevelopment of the Old Distillery site in Newry in line with his vision to restore distilling to the city where Matt D’Arcy Whiskey was born.”

Shane Braniff, Echlinville Distillery

“Michael has written a wonderful book telling the great story of Matt D’Arcy and old Newry whiskeys. The book will be available from our Distillery shop alongside Matt D’Arcy’s Whiskey. The spirit and presentation of Matt D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey are exceptional and it will make a worthy addition to the Echlinville portfolio.”

Irish Whiskey Heritage

Echlinville are proud custodians of the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand and recently revived the famous Old Comber Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Speaking about the role of heritage brands in the Irish whiskey sector, Shane continued: “These old Irish whiskey brands are hugely important. Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries they built an industry that was the envy of the world, and now their revival is playing an important role in the resurgence of that industry. In our view, names like Matt D’Arcy, Dunville’s and Old Comber deserve to be part of the Irish whiskey renaissance.”

Matt D’Arcy & Co. Newry

Michael McKeown owner of Matt D’Arcy & Co. Ltd. said: “Having grown up in the production and selling of alcoholic drinks, I have the greatest respect for Shane Braniff at Echlinville, whose passion and enthusiasm for Irish whiskey heritage matches my own.

“Echlinville’s brands are now widely sold across Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world. When Shane offered to bring Matt D’Arcy’s along the path to international recognition, I was only too happy to entrust the brand into his care and I look forward to seeing it grow on the worldwide whiskey stage.

“The high cost of breaking into foreign markets is the biggest barrier to a small producer like Matt D’Arcy’s. Collaborating with an established player such as Echlinville will propel the brand towards future growth.

“With this boost to our fortunes where Echlinville creates markets for the D’Arcy brand, we can turn our resources to developing the ‘Old Distillery’ site in Monaghan Street, Newry. Having acquired, in October 2020, the adjoining property at Corry Square, a revised application has been submitted to Building Control and the result is awaited before drawing up and issuing final tendering documentation.”

Shane Braniff concluded: “Michael McKeown’s passion for Matt D’Arcy, Irish whiskey and the city of Newry is palpable. All of us at Echlinville and Matt D’Arcy share the same sense of pride in our Co. Down roots and the role this part of the world played in Ireland’s proud whiskey heritage. With Matt D’Arcy, Dunville’s and Old Comber now under Echlinville’s guardianship, we look forward to putting Co. Down back on the world whiskey map.”

Matt D’Arcy’s Irish Whiskey is coming soon to The Echlinville Distillery online shop. For trade sales inquiries please contact [email protected]

Old Comber Whiskey revived

We are proud to announce the revival of the famous Old Comber Irish Whiskey brand after a near 70 year absence.

One of the original Irish whiskey giants, Old Comber Whiskey was founded in 1825 and produced at the Comber Distilleries, which were located just ten miles from where Echlinville now stands.

Comber Distilleries fell silent in 1953 and Old Comber joined the list of Ireland’s lost whiskeys. In testament to our continued commitment to put Co. Down back on the world whiskey map, we are unveiling our first release of Old Comber Irish Pot Still Whiskey – a pot still blend finished in Ruby Port casks and bottled at 46% abv and retailing at £45 RRP.

County Down roots

Old Comber was one of Ireland’s most celebrated whiskey brands. Famed for more than a century for its quality and bold flavour, its loss was lamented by whiskey enthusiasts around the world.

Anyone who knows Echlinville will know that we are incredibly proud of our roots. From rolling barley fields to huge malting houses and one of the largest distilleries in Ireland, County Down and the area around Strangford Lough in particular, has a strong whiskey heritage. Comber and its distilleries was widely regarded as the home of double distilled pot still whiskey.

We are honoured to bring Old Comber Whiskey back to its County Down homeland. In homage to the brand’s origins, our first release is a premium blend of pot still whiskeys, predominantly double distilled here at Echlinville, just ten miles from where the Comber Distilleries once stood.

Finish and flavour

Old Comber was renowned for its port and sherry cask finishes. In honour of that tradition, this new release has been aged in American Oak and Bourbon casks in the Echlinville warehouse and finished in the finest Ruby Port casks.

Deep amber in colour, this whiskey boasts notes of fresh vanilla pods, toffee apples and Battenburg cake on the nose. On the palate, a creamy pot still mouthfeel with treacle toffee, apple tarte tatin spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, opening up to rosewater, raspberries and cream. Those toffee and spice notes continue through to a medium finish with pecan nuts fading out to mellow oak tannins and sweet spice in its final notes. This limited release stays true to the Old Comber name and marks a new chapter in the story of Old Comber, Echlinville and the ongoing Irish whiskey revival.

Old Comber and Dunville’s

At Echlinville we are also custodians of the famous Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand. Another giant of Irish whiskey history, we revived Dunville’s in 2012 and have gone on to restore it to its rightful place among the world’s best whiskeys.

This corner of Ireland has a great story to tell in terms of its role in Ireland’s whiskey heritage. If Dunville’s was The Spirit of Belfast then Old Comber, one of its closest whiskey neighbours, was the spirit of County Down. In fact, both brands featured in BBC2’s recent Whiskey Talkin’ programme, which explored the history of Irish whiskey, the Dunville’s return and our collaboration with Fionnán O’Connor to recreate the original Old Comber mash bill – a whiskey that we hope to release when it reaches the seven year mark.

These old brands are hugely important. Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, they built an industry that was the envy of the world. Their revival will play an important part in the resurgence of that industry. In our view, names like Dunville’s and Old Comber deserve to be part of the Irish whiskey renaissance.

Dunville’s and Old Comber dominated whiskey production in the north of Ireland, but they had much more in common than huge distilleries and vast warehouses. In 1872 James Bruce was a director in Dunville’s and his brother Samuel Bruce, whose initials feature on the Old Comber bottle, was the owner of Comber Distilleries. We like to think that in reviving both historic brands, we are not only restoring a cornerstone of Northern Ireland’s distilling history but are in some way reuniting the Bruce brothers, at least in spirit.

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

Echlinville Distillery Ltd is in receipt of SFA Capital and Development support from Invest NI for Selective Financial Assistance  – Distillery Expansion Project 2019.  This project which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020 aims to increase production capacity and grow Irish whiskey and gin brands globally.

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.”

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 [email protected] 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.

Dunville’s Irish Whiskey now available in Canada

The Echlinville Distillery are delighted to be exporting their  multi award-winning Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand to Canada in a deal with one of the world’s largest alcohol buyers.

The Spirit of Belfast is now available in Ontario in a new deal with the LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario – following Echlinville’s two successful trade missions to Canada with Invest Northern Ireland and the Irish Whiskey Association. The LCBO is among the world’s largest buyers and retailers of beverage alcohol with almost 900 LCBO stores and LCBO Convenience Outlets across the province of Ontario.

This is the latest in a series of export accounts for the independent family-run distillery, which ships its award-winning whiskeys, gins and poitín to international markets across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Dunville’s is introducing three of its award winning whiskeys to the Canadian market: Dunville’s PX 12 Year Old Single Malt, which was named Best Irish Single Malt 12 Years and Under at the World Whiskies Awards 2019 and the Irish Whiskey Awards 2018 and 2019 and recently won Gold at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards. LCBO is also stocking Dunville’s Three Crowns Blended Whiskey, which won Bronze at the World Whiskies Awards 2020, and Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated Irish Whiskey, which was named Best Irish Blended Whiskey at the World Whiskies Awards 2019.

Jarlath Watson from Echlinville said: “We are delighted to bring The Spirit of Belfast to the ever-increasing number of Irish whiskey enthusiasts in the province of Ontario. When we revived the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand in 2012, we did so with the view to restoring it to its rightful place among the premier whiskeys of the world. With an ever-increasing international following, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

Irish whiskey is the world’s fastest growing spirits category and Canada is one of the leading markets for that growth, with the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis reporting an 83% increase in volume export sales to the Canadian market between 2014 and 2018. That growth is expected to increase by a further 77% with exports to Canada projected to reach 491,000 nine-litre cases annually by 2023. Much of that growth is expected to be among premium whiskeys such as Dunville’s.

Jarlath continued: “Our single malt and vintage blend whiskeys have gathered 21 major international awards and are synonymous with exceptional quality, exquisite taste and rich heritage. As the global demand for premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey continues to grow, this is a strong foundation upon which we continue to build our global export business.

“This new business with LCBO comes as we have also sent another major shipment to the USA, which means that Dunville’s Irish Whiskey will have an increasing presence right across the lucrative North American market in the coming months.

“As the global demand for Irish whiskey continues to grow, so too does our Dunville’s portfolio. Our most recent addition to the range – a Cask Strength bottling of our iconic Dunville’s PX 12 Year Old Single Malt – sold out within a few hours its release. We are working on further releases in the Dunville’s Single Cask Series, a series of single cask whiskeys that will showcase the very best whiskeys in the Dunville’s warehouse and give our customers what they want – exceptional Irish whiskey, uncompromised and bottled at its optimum strength for the best possible quality and flavour.

“2020 promises to be another great year for The Spirit of Belfast and we would like to thank Invest NI – particularly its Canadian office – the Irish Whiskey Association, our Ontario based agent Cork Wines and Whiskeys and all our customers for their continued support.”

John Hood, Director of Food & Drink at Invest NI, said: “The Irish whiskey market has seen remarkable growth over the last ten years with Irish whiskey now one of the fastest growing premium spirit categories in the world. Our support for Echlinville included an introduction by our office in Canada with the LCBO during an Invest NI trade mission to Canada which helped the company to secure this deal. This success is testament to the quality Irish whiskey which Echlinville Distillery produces here, with only a handful of brands getting past LCBO’s long and rigorous selection process.”

William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “Irish whiskey sales are booming in Canada and it is great to see new brands such as Dunville’s launching across Canada. The Irish Whiskey Association has worked closely with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Invest NI to secure access for more Irish whiskey brands to the large Ontario market and it is great to see this now bearing fruit for The Echlinville Distillery.”

Jason Nykor Owner of Cork Wines and Whiskeys Ltd., who represent quality Irish spirits for the Canadian market, said: “Cork Wines and Whiskeys Ltd. is proud to represent an icon such as Dunville’s Irish Whiskey in Ontario. It is with great pleasure that we are able to bring this whiskey all the way from Northern Ireland to LCBO stores across the province. The LCBO has seen a huge increase in demand for Irish Whiskey and brands like Dunville’s will only enhance the category. We look forward to lifting a dram of Dunville’s Irish whiskey soon.”

Dunville’s Irish Whiskey is available now from LCBO online and in-store. LCBO product codes are as follows:

From The Vault: Original Dunville’s Three Crowns Special Liqueur Whisky

Last weekend we carefully (and somewhat nervously) opened this beautifully battered and dusty bottle of original Dunville’s Three Crowns Special Liqueur Whisky.

While we aren’t sure of the exact year of bottling, this would have been bottled in bond at The Royal Irish Distilleries in Belfast some time before its closure in 1936. A throwback to a time when Belfast was as famous for its whiskey as it was for its ship building and linen industries and Dunville’s was among the world’s finest and best known whiskeys.

Earlier this year, this bottle has found its way to Dunville’s new home here at Echlinville. Since the moment it arrived, we’ve looked forward to opening it and taking a journey back in time to the heyday of The Spirit of Belfast.

So, what happened when we cracked the seal? Here are a few notes from our distiller Graeme on opening this very special bottle and sharing it with a room full of Dunville’s fans who had joined us to celebrate the past, present and future of Dunville’s Irish Whiskey.

“A journey into the unknown. Bottles like this don’t come along very often. We were both excited and apprehensive at the prospect of sharing it with the room.

“The cork was sound but very delicate. Removing it carefully, it broke up a lot but smelled fresh – the first clue that what lay within the bottle had remained unspoilt for more than 80 years.

“The liquid level in the bottle looked like it had only dropped a little – perhaps just 15mm – during the years of storage, raising my hopes that the ‘spiritiness’ of the liquid had been maintained. The label read 70% proof – that’s around 38.4% abv according to the old English method of calculation (70% proof divided by 1.821).

“Now for the pour. A very careful pour. The colour was a rich amber and perfectly clear. Just beautiful.

“On the nose, a subtle and short lived medicinal note which is the only hint that this whiskey has spent many years in a bottle. I picked up delicate, sweet grain and a surprising freshness, a hint of wood and a little toffee and butterscotch.

“At last, the opportunity to taste this little piece of Dunville’s proud history. Creamy on the palate. Slight toffee and even more subtle liquorice notes. A sweet, barley rich flavour. If it was a contemporary whiskey I would say it’s double distilled with at least an element of pot still character. Mild pears and slight grain bitterness with no adverse signs of age. The balance is wonderful. It’s spirity, probably very close to the original bottling strength. A soft rather than an intense whiskey.

“The nose develops with building intensity of wood, the overall experience becoming more robust as the whiskey sits in the glass.

“What a privilege to be able to taste this whiskey and an absolute honour to share it with everyone in the room.”

Click here to find out more about the history and heritage of Dunville’s Irish Whiskey.

Video: Dunville’s VR 18 Year Old Rum Finish Whiskey Launch

The Harp Bar in Belfast provided the perfect backdrop for the launch of Dunville’s VR 18 Year Old Rum Finish Irish Whiskey.

This cask strength (57% abv) limited release is from the first of eight incredibly rare casks from the lost Port Mourant Estate Distillery in Guyana – casks that previously nurtured an exceptional 41 year old Demerara Rum from the world’s last surviving double wooden pot still.

With four international awards already to its name, this Single Cask bottling is the jewel in the crown of the Dunville’s Irish Whiskey portfolio. The limited edition bottling is presented in an exquisite collector’s box, the contents of which have been carefully curated to reflect both Dunville’s rich heritage and the unique provenance of the rare rum casks in which the whiskey has been finished.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the launch. Enjoy the highlights.

Dunville’s Irish Whiskey website goes live

We are delighted to unveil our new Dunville’s Irish Whiskey website. The Spirit of Belfast’s new online home at charts the story of Dunville’s from its birth in 1808 through to its rebirth at Echlinville in 2012 and the award-winning brand’s ongoing success.

Featuring whiskeys from across the Dunville’s range, the site also links to Echlinville’s new online shop where customers can purchase Dunville’s Whiskey and gifts directly from the distillery’s new ecommerce platform.

For product information visit and follow Dunville’s Irish Whiskey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 back Distillery Football Club with iconic Dunville’s brand

The Echlinville Distillery is continuing its valued sponsorship with Lisburn Distillery Football Club as the ‘back of shirt’ sponsor for the 2018-2019 season.

This is the third consecutive season that Echlinville has sponsored the club. For the forthcoming season the distillery’s multi-award winning Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand will appear on the first team home and away kits. There is added historical significance to the partnership in that Echlinville is home to the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand.  Distillery Football Club was originally founded by employees of the Dunville’s distillery – then based in Belfast – in 1880. The distillery closed its doors in 1936 and Dunville’s Whiskey was consigned to history until Echlinville revived the brand in 2013.

The Echlinville Distillery will also continue to sponsor the popular Player of the Month award. This will now be known as ‘The Dunville’s Whiskey Player of the Month Award’.

Lisburn Distillery director Terry Thompson said; “I would like to thank everyone at The Echlinville Distillery for continuing their much valued sponsorship – it really is very genuinely appreciated by everyone involved with the club. We had a positive season last year on the pitch and we hope to build on that again.

@We have had a great relationship with Echlinville for the the last two seasons and have watched them go from strength to strength on many fronts and it will be with great pleasure and pride that we will have “Dunville’s” on our shirts this season. To be re-connected with Dunville’s again is something very special indeed and it would be fantastic if we could transfer some of that award-winning spirit from the cask to the pitch over the forthcoming season. Again, I would like to thank Shane Braniff and the Echlinville team for their generous support.“

Shane Braniff, owner of The Echlinville Distillery, said: “We are delighted to continue our successful relationship with Lisburn Distillery Football Club. It was the founding goal of The Echlinville Distillery to revive the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand and introduce ‘The Spirit of Belfast’ to a new generation of whiskey enthusiasts. As Dunville’s spiritual home, it makes perfect sense for us to rekindle the relationship between Dunville’s Irish Whiskey and Distillery Football Club. With the recent release of our Dunville’s PX 12 Year Old Single Malt and excitement building for the upcoming release of our multi-award winning 17 Year Old Port Mourant Rum Finish Whiskey, the 2018/19 season is looking bright for Dunville’s Whiskey and, we hope too, for Lisburn Distillery FC. We wish everyone at the club the best of luck in the new season.”

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