Ballyduff: An Unexpected Journey

April 22, 2018

It’s been a while since we last spoke, but the Ballyduff project is going well. I had intended weekly updates on the new distillery build, but life, gin and concrete got in the way.

For many reasons this has been an unexpected journey. The destination we had long known; a new micro-distillery, a home, a place you can come and visit. But the journey itself…

October 2017: The Hardware Store, Ballyduff Upper

There are videos here and here, from just before the build. We have had cameras on site for 6 months, but getting time to edit has not been easy.

On Location

We’ve been busy dealing with this, DACs (disabled access certs) and the others (fire office, HSE, HSA, Revenue, Waterford Council, ESB, Irish Water, EPA, and that’s before builders, engineers, architects, solicitors, accountants, investors, planners and sparks). We’ve suppliers in Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Holland and Scotland. And rain, lots of rain and mostly when there was no roof on the building. But we’re slowly drying out, it is slowly coming together.

November 2017: The Hardware Store cleared and ready to become the Sill House

By year’s end the site had been cleared, ready for the serious work to begin.

December 2017: We blew the budget on Christmas lights

In January we started to dig the Channel Tunnel, or at least that’s how it felt. There were huge groundworks as the other buildings on site were knocked, floors ripped up and the place was turned into a sea of mud. All this during the darkest, wettest most dreary time of the year. It seemed like we were getting nowhere. Just digging holes to pour money into.

January 2018: The rip-out began.

By February even the photographs had turned monochrome as we hit Peak Destruction.

Early February 2018: Peak Destruction in the Still House

Around Valentine’s day we turned a corner.

Clear blue skies

More stuff was being built than was being carted away. Slowly the new distillery building had started to take shape, while in the Still House fresh floors were poured and a shiny roof appeared.

Late February: The new distillery entrance.

While the builders got on with getting on, there were a million decisions to be made. We want the public to have access, but at the same time this is a working distillery and a bonded warehouse.  So security and fire play into every decision; from the type of glass in the windows, to the floor coverings used, to the equipment lay out, every decision has to be taken in consultation with one or more of the specialists on the job. There are structural engineers, fire consultants, mechanical and electrical engineers, consultant engineers, architects, planners, distillery consultants and of course an architect and quantity surveyor. I’m sure I’ve left somebody out.

Site Meetings involve lots of pointing at stuff.

Just before St Patrick’s Day two of our three new stills arrived on site. The lads from Frilli flew over in their shades to bolt them together and suddenly the place started to come together.

March 2018: Looking good!

By April the place was crawling with people. Pipes and wires and popping up all over the place as services are run to the stills – so tune in next week as things are now happening rather quickly and you don’t want to miss anything, now do you.