Well here at Blackwater Distillery we’ve got our planning permission and we’re on our way to Ballyduff.

As the estate agent said 'its got feckin' potential.'
As the estate agent said ‘its got feckin’ potential.’

The idea? To convert a Hardware store built in 1952 into a state-of-the-art micro-distillery, with visitor facilities. So it’s a story in two parts.

Currently, we are proud to be Ireland’s ugliest distillery, but by early 2018 all that will have changed. We are one payment away from owning a couple of beautiful stills made by Frilli or Sienna. We have a bespoke labelling line currently under construction in Huddersfield. We are speaking our brew house and basically, we need somewhere to put everything.

We’d also like to welcome visitors. Irish whiskey tourism is suffering from multi-national overkill. In other words, there’s nothing to actually see in Midleton or Smithfield, and as the word ‘museum’ has all the attraction of damp mothballs, it’s an ‘experience’. As for Tullamore, it’s got all the charm of a factory that makes microchips.

All it needs is a lick of paint
All it needs is a lick of paint

Teeling though has got it right, as has Dingle; stir into the mix the Connacht Whiskey Company in Ballina, Walsh Whiskey in Carlow and the jewel that is Kilbeggan. Add Pat Rigney’s proposed new distillery in Leitrim, us and the other micros racing towards production, and by 2020 you will have a diverse and interesting mix. If a private members bill currently going through the Dail works out, then visitors will also be able to taste what we make. Imagine that. So the tourist could loop their way around Ireland visiting real distilleries. They might even pop into Midleton for the whiskey tourism equivalent of a Big Mac.

We've got plans
We’ve got plans

So what’s the plan? We will have three stills, a brew house, an automatic bottling line, a cafe and a tasting room all packed into 6,000 square feet. There won’t be any maturation on site and we’ll have a hot tub on the roof. I mean what’s the point of having a distillery if you can’t have a hot tub on the roof?

All going well we will start the renovation in July and open the doors in early 2018.

It’s going to be an interesting journey, one we will blog about and film. So this is a video of how things are right now, and there will be more so grab some popcorn and subscribe to our YouTube channel.