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Our Story

Discover the story of Ireland's first farm distillery. Crafting award winning Irish whiskey, gin and poitín from field to glass in the heart of County Down, with excellence instilled in every drop.

It all starts on the farm

The Echlinville Distillery in Newtownards is Ireland’s first farm distillery. We craft our spirits from the ground up, on land we have farmed for generations. Every drop is trickle pot distilled to perfection from barley sown, grown, harvested and malted by hand on our family farm.

Our barley crops are nurtured by the unique micro-climate of the Ards Peninsula. The area’s unique topography, temperate climate, rich soil and saline air have long been credited with making this place one of the finest grain growing regions in Ireland. Where better then to build Ireland’s first field to glass distillery.

Our premium whiskey, gin and poitín are distilled from barley that we malt the old fashioned way on the distillery malting floor. Every grain is repeatedly dampened, dried and turned by hand and shovel in the way our whiskey forefathers would have done. It’s hard work and it takes time, but we believe in doing things the right way rather than the easy way.

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 and proud to be one of the first new whiskey distilleries in Ireland. That pride of place is the essence of everything we do.

Timeline

400 years of history at Echlinville

Echlin family cresh

1613

Echlin family roots

Bishop Robert Echlin arrives in the Ards Peninsula from Fife, Scotland. A century later his great grandson establishes the Echlinville Estate, which will become home to The Echlinville Distillery.

Echlinville Manor House

2007

Echlinville Manor House

Shane Braniff, local farmer and business man, purchases the Echlinville Manor House with thoughts of building Ireland's first field-to-glass farm distillery.

Dunville's Special Liqueur antique bottle

2012

The Spirit of Belfast

Shane Braniff revives the iconic Dunville's Irish Whiskey brand and makes it Echlinville's founding goal to restore Dunville's to its rightful place among the world's best whiskeys.

Echlinville Whiskey Casks Number 1 and 2

2013

Birth of a distillery

Echlinville is granted its distilling license and becomes the first new distillery in Northern Ireland for more than 125 years. We fill our first whiskey casks on 5 August 2013.

Echlinville barley and whiskey glass

2016

Our whiskey comes of age

Distilled from barley grown, harvested and malted on our family farm, the spirit from our first distillations reaches its milestone third birthday and finally becomes Echlinville Whiskey.

Echlinville Gin bottle with barley and botanicals

2017

A Gin from fields of gold

We unveil Ireland's first super premium field-to-glass gin. Echlinville Irish Pot Still Gin is distilled from malted barley grown and harvested on our family farm.

Dunville's Single Cask Series

2019

Dunville's Single Cask Series

We launch the Dunville's Single Cask Series. The first in a series of limited edition bottlings showcasing the finest casks from the Dunville's warehouse.

A rich tapestry of flavours

2019

A rich tapestry of flavours

Inspired by the story of Irish linen, we launch Weavers Gin. As crisp, cool and clean as the linen it is inspired by, it wins Ireland's Best Classic Gin at the World Gin Awards.

The fight against a pandemic

2020

The fight against a pandemic

Echlinville joins the fight against Coronavirus by switching production to hand sanitiser and working around the clock to supply front line services.

Plans for the future

2021

Plans for the future

We are working on the next stage of our whiskey and local gin distillery's development. This includes additional warehouses, landscaping and the building of a new visitors centre at our home in Newtownards.

Old Comber Whiskey Returns

2021

Old Comber Whiskey Returns

Echlinville revives Old Comber Irish Pot Still Whiskey, bringing one of Ireland's most celebrated whiskeys back to its County Down homeland.

Matt D'Arcy's joins Echlinville

2021

Matt D'Arcy's joins Echlinville

The historic Matt D'Arcy's Irish Whiskey brand joins the Echlinville family.

Excellence Instilled

The Echlinville still house is the beating heart of our distillery. Home to the state of the art equipment that has been specially designed to allow us to produce the purest spirit imaginable. The still house has been built to showcase our beautiful copper pot stills and the statuesque column stills that are the jewel in our crown.

Creating an exceptional whiskey is all about time, and at our irish whiskey distillery we give ours as much time as it needs. But at Echlinville, it’s not just about the time the whiskey spends in casks. It’s also about the time taken to distil. The slower the distillation, the better and sweeter our spirit. We are perfecting the art of ‘trickle pot distillation’ – slowing down the stills to achieve a gentle balance between complex character and delicate flavour.

Our cask warehouse is filled with the aroma of wood and whiskey as our Single Malt and Pot Still whiskeys age to perfection. And when it is ready, every bottle of Echlinville spirit is filled, labelled and packed by hand with the care and attention it deserves.

With Excellence Instilled from field to glass, we won’t compromise in our desire to produce the finest spirits.

Echlinville Manor House

The Echliville Distillery is located on the historic Echlinville Estate, at the heart of which stands the beautiful Echlinville Manor House.

The estate takes its name from the Echlin family. Once among the most influential families in Ireland, the Echlins arrived in the Ards Peninsula in 1613 when Robert Echlin, Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Connor, founded a Church at the Abbacy Road near Portaferry. His great grandson, Captain Charles Echlin, purchased the Echlinville Manor House in the 1730s and established the 1,500 acre Echlinville Estate.

The stunning Grade B1 listed manor house was designed by architect Charles Lanyon, who also designed some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic landmarks including Queen’s University, Belfast Castle and Scrabo Tower.

The Echlinville Estate and Manor House changed hands several times throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 2007 the house was purchased by Shane Braniff and his wife Lynn, who went on to establish the Echlinville Distillery and open a new chapter in the story of the Echlinville Estate.