Powerscourt distillery and visitor centre to create 18 jobs

€10m invested in plan to produce a million bottles of whiskey per year at Enniskerry estate

  Gerry Ginty, Sarah Slazenger, managing director of Powerscourt Esate and Ashley Gardiner. Photograph: Jason Clarke Photography

Gerry Ginty, Sarah Slazenger, managing director of Powerscourt Esate and Ashley Gardiner. Photograph: Jason Clarke Photography

 
Powerscourt Distillery

with a craft distillery and visitor centre at the Powerscourt Estate, in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, the businessmen behind the venture say, with another 30 jobs expected during construction.

A planning application will be lodged today and a second round of funding will be opened to support a €10 million investment plan for the project.

Local entrepreneurs Gerry Ginty and Ashley Gardiner are co-founders of the project, which will refurbish the estate’s old millhouse into a distillery set against the backdrop of the Sugar Loaf mountain and the Powerscourt gardens.

Barley grown in the surrounding fields will be combined with mineral water from the Powerscourt Estate well, using traditional pot-still techniques. At full production, the distillery will have the potential to produce more than one million bottles of whiskey per year. By the end of 2016 onwards the first batch of whiskey will be distilled and placed in oak casks to mature.

Bord Bia forecasts international demand for Irish whiskey will quadruple to more than 24 million cases by 2030, with Powerscourt Distillery one of a number of new distilleries hoping to capitalise on the swelling market. The distillery said it was in active discussions with several domestic and international investors and will look to close a second €5 million funding round by the end of the year. It raised €3 million in the first funding round earlier this year.

Mr Ginty, who will be chief executive of the distillery, said it would focus on the premium end of the Irish whiskey market. Powerscourt Distillery is a joint venture with Powerscourt Estate, supported by an agreement with the Slazenger family to locate the distillery on the estate, which has an 800-year history stretching back to a castle built in the 13th century.

The Slazengers are the owners and custodians of Powerscourt Estate and gardens and have developed it into a popular tourist attraction, with more than 500,000 visitors annually. Powerscourt Estate managing director Sarah Slazenger said the distillery would attract more visitors to the site.