Echlinville Distillery – Irish Whiskey News

Echlinville Distillery

Echlinville House, Gransha Road, Kircubbin, Co Down BT22 1AJ

History made as a second Northern Irish distillery starts operations

Echlinville Distillery has now been granted the first licence to distil spirits in Northern Ireland in over 130 years by HM Customs and Excise.

The granting of this crucially important licence was announced today by Shane Braniff, a local business man from the Ards, who launched the ever successful Feckin Irish Whiskey brand in 2005.

The licence award coincides with planning approval for a new state-of-the art distillery complex on the Echlinville Estate, just outside Kircubbin on the Ards Peninsula.The investment planned will include a visitors’ centre, restaurant, bar, distillation hall, maturing warehousing and museum.

Mr Braniff, outlining his plans, said:  “We have been planning this distillery now since 2005. It will bring many tangible benefits to the Ards Peninsula in terms of additional employment and as an attraction for tourists and other visitors.

“The success we are enjoying with the Feckin Irish Whiskey, particularly in the US, has led us to invest in this new distillery. As our experience with Feckin has demonstrated, demand for Irish Whiskey is growing strongly in global markets. In fact, Irish whiskey is now the fastest growing brown spirit worldwide.

“Our plan is to continue with Feckin Irish Whiskey, the unique Feckin Spiced Irish Whiskey and then   develop a range of drinks that can be sold almost immediately without having to wait the three years for our whiskey to mature, and finally to develop a premium/super premium malt whiskey.

“It is great that Echlinville Distillery is now up and running. We have had equipment in place since last Christmas but could not even turn it on until now. The road ahead is not going to be an easy one for us. Our competitors are mostly large Cooperation’s with millions of pounds/ dollars to spend in marketing and design. We are going to have to think outside the box in every approach we take with this business.

“We are located on the Ards Peninsula  which boasts a very unique micro climate and is well suited to the production of whiskey. It may be the most suited location in the whole of Ireland, Scotland and the rest of the UK. I do believe this gives us an edge. We have the experience and the skills in place along with some great equipment to produce some of the best tasting whiskey’s ever experienced .

“In addition, we have a longstanding distribution agreement in the US with World Spirits, a division of Minneapolis-based Phillips Distilling Company. This gives us access to an established distribution network that covers virtually every state in America.

“No business has any right to success. It must be earned. I believe we have the best location, we will employ the best people, we must engage with the best partners and finally we must produce the best possible product with no compromising whatsoever to quality.”

The new Echlinville Distillery is already registered as an Invest Northern Ireland client and has received some assistance to date in the development of its business plan, marketing strategies and new product development.


Echlinville Distillery takes its name from the Echlinville Estate, a graded B1 listed site of great historical importance, which was owned during the 18th and 19th century by the Echlin family, who originally moved to Northern Ireland in the year 1613 when Robert Echlin, originally from Fife in Scotland, took up his post as Bishop of Down and Connor.

The Echlin family through this period in time were very influencial and powerful, and in 1779 one of the bishop’s descendants, Charles Echlin, formed the Echlinvale Volunteers with another well-known individual as their chaplin, William Steele Dickson. Mr Dickson later became heavily involved with the United Irish Rising of 1798.

The Echlinville apple tree which can still be purchased in Ireland and the UK also originated from this stately home.

Echlinville Distillery has already planted around 100 acres of its own malted barley to be used exclusively in its own whiskey production, giving not only full traceability on raw materials, but also reducing the distillery’s carbon footprint. Echlinville whiskey will truly be the greenest of whiskeys.

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