ABOUT US

“In January 2016 our distillery will start to unfold as an evocative scene from a picturesque part of Ireland. We will produce seasonal potato vodka from scratch and distilled in our 40ft column. Our whiskey will be matured using the perfect combination of organic farm barley and slow maturation.”

To start we will produce our signature gin experience. Our recipe is a modern lens on a quaint world of distilling with a nod to traditional Irish symbolism. We have found a haven of special botanicals unique to this part of Ireland and Europe which will install a sense of provenance and industry in the hearts and minds of gin drinkers the world over. This is our new take on the brave new world of gin and especially Irish gin.

MEET OUR TEAM

A small team with big impact, a local, a distiller and a marketing chap… amongst others.

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JOE MCGIRR

 Founder and CEO

Boatyard Distillery is the brainchild of Joe, he has worked within the industry for over ten years with Glenmorangie, Möet Hennessy and in 2014 joined the London Distillery Company as Chief Operating Officer.

Joe’s technical and production knowledge has been founded upon the scoring and buying panel for single cask expressions for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Thereafter moving on to lead innovative, spirit product concepts taking them right from idea stage to liquid in the bottle at The London Distillery Company.

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DARREN ROOK

 Creative Director 

As a founder of The London Distillery Company, London’s first whisky distillery in over 100 years, Darren brings unique perspective and skill set to the team. This includes the development and launching award winning drinks brands such as Dodd’s Gin while also co-founding Shanghai based spirits distribution company Gotham East (Shanghai) Ltd. With over a decade of industry experience Darren has supported Joe in developing the Boatyard Distillery concept since its inception in late 2013.

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GREG DILLON

 Strategy Consultant 

Greg is a brand strategist specialising in creating compelling brand positioning / propositions, creative platforms and all things strategic for whisky and other luxury spirits, he also authors multi-award nominated GreatDrams.com, a site for whisky drinkers and learners alike as well as writing for consumer and trade publications including Whisky Quarterly and TheDrinksReport.

OUR GIN

This is a celebration of our beginnings and the start of a journey that will span generations and inspire gin drinkers the world over.

The recipe is our first, an eloquent gin that is here to give a hint of what is on the horizon from Boatyard Gin in the future. Straight from the lab, no bells, no whistles, just good gin done right.

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OUR PRODUCTS

Irish Gin

Produced using organic ingredients and botanicals that capture the essence of this part of Ireland

Irish Barrel Aged Gin

Our Lough Erne produced gin aged in first fill ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at 47% to create a silky smooth and rich sipping gin.

Irish Potato Vodka

We will create seasonal batch potato vodka which has been produced into a beautifully rich tasting vodka. These potatoes which are classed as unfit for supermarkets due to their unique and odd shape and size but are perfect to produce our spirit. Each batch will be fermented and distilled through a tall column still resulting in only 900 bottles per run.

Irish Single Malt Whiskey

Organic farm barley used to produce whiskey the way it used to be 120 years after the last legal distillery in Fermanagh closed.

OUR DISTILLERY

A few photos from in and around out distillery site as we embark on this exciting journey. We look forward to welcoming you on our tours soon!

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 GET IN TOUCH

Like what you see? Want to ask us a question? Or simply want to get in touch for a natter? Send us an email at: info@loughernedistillery.co.uk or use the contact form on the right.

        




CATCH UP ON OUR NEWS

Updates on our journey and distillery news straight from Lough Erne

We’re nearly there.

We’re nearly there.

We’ve come a long way in the last few months. 

One of the major hurdles (apart from finding money) has been trying to stick to our original ethos of making everything from scratch.  With so many great gin products out there on the market we wanted to stand out from the crowd – not just in taste profile but also with our production method.

To make gin, you need to start with high-strength alcohol, which is legally required to be 96% abv and demethelyized. To get to this strength and standard you need a very tall style of distillation column and fermentation equipment – all of which comes with a significant price tag!  This is the main reason why a lot on the market (if not most gins – particularly in Ireland and the UK) choose to buy in this base neutral spirit. Whilst this comes from a variety of sources, it is essentially industrially made alcohol, which is then suitable for re-distilling and  flavouring to fit a specific profile.

With the plethora of challenges presented, it would be much easier to go down the road of buying in this high-strength, neutral, flavourless spirit. For me, this is missing the crucial part of making your own base alcohol.  To get over these legal, financial and practical challenges we have found a new distillation system, using the most up-to-date technology, which will produce our 96% abv starting point alcohol in small volumes.

What this new still doesn’t come with is the fermentation equipment which we need to brew and ferment our starting base alcohol before distillation.  We are working on getting all of the necessary equipment (funding and resources permiting) but in the meantime we will be working with a local brewer to carry out this part of the process, so we can get started straight away.

The new still should be arriving in the next few days and we are really itching to get going! It feels like the dream is finally becoming a reality.

 

After 9 months in the making we finally have full planning permission for the development.

After 9 months in the making we finally have full planning permission for the development.

5th January

After 9 months in the making we finally have full planning permission for the development.

One of the most difficult parts in the planning application has been trying to demonstrate and show confidence that there is no risk of contamination into Lough Erne which the site looks on to.  Building a distillery almost on top of the water course has some engineering challenges to say the least!  Risk mitagation is required at every level.

We had to demonstrate that we’ve put in measures against creating three eyed fish or discharging any form of pollution.

NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) and WMU (Water Management Unit) are very protective over Lough Erne and anyone who presents a risk.  And rightly so.  But the administration behind all of these decisions is incredible.

In the end we contacted Arlene Foster who is now the First Minister for NI.  Being from Fermanagh she was incredibly supportive to the scheme and her input was very much appreciated.

After a long 9 month road of back and forward with various agencies we have now gained the authority we need. 

The result for us is the opportunity to build the most incredible distillery on a site which couldn’t be more picturesque in comparison to anything I’ve personally seen around the world.

With all planning and HMRC licences approved we can now move on to the next crucial step of calling on our potential investors to help us move forward and get work underway.

If you’re interested in hearing more about investing then please email me at joe@boatyarddistillery.com.

Planning & Rain

9th December 2015

We have more and more planning issues.  Our application went in back in April.  It’s taken an incredibly and frustratingly long time to get this processed.

When we submitted the planning application it went to a series of consultees and departments for their feedback.  As they haven’t seen a similar project like this it seems to have caused serious issue with their ability to make decisions.

We have done transport assessments, water studies, aromatic testing, noise testing on individual parts.  All of this costing more time and money. I do feel that if we were all able to sit at one time around the table it would have been less of an issue.

For a rural area in north west Ireland they should be trying to encourage small business and not trying to overload with administration to a point of breaking.

There have been a series of administration errors also on the planning side with the latest being a consultation that should have went out 6 months ago but has only just been sent.  This was to Rivers agency.  Luckily their guy was approachable and agreed to get the response in less time than the normal advised 3 week lead time.

We now have an opportunity to make a committee meeting on the 16th of December for a decision point but I still haven’t been able to get confirmation that the necessary administration will get done in time for this.

This is the last big legal hurdle.  In the short term atleast anyway.

There has been lots of rain in Fermanagh recently.  Not much good for taking the boat out!

 

 

WE ARE LICENSED!

25th October 2015

Today has been a massive day.  We finally received our HMRC license and warehouse approvals.  We now have Trade facilities warehouse, Distillers license, rectifier and compounders license and WOWGR.  This has been a much longer process than anticipated but in the end came through very quickly once all the detail had been ironed out.  Our case officer has been incredibly helpful throughout the process.

We’ve had to look at all aspects of the business on paper and physically in person with inspections on the ground throughout the project.  One of the great things about this process is that it has forced us to look at areas of the business we are less passionate about such as the paperwork and documentation and the process’ we have had to introduce to handle and store bonded duty suspended spirit.  After many issues in the past it has been great to finally get all approvals through.

We have also resubmitted our EIS investment documents.  These are the documents which enable investors to gain tax relief on share investment into the company.  This is really important and incentivizes and protects shareholder capital.

This week we intend to submit final application for InvestNI.  On talks and discussion prior we have been advised that we have a great case for funding and backing.  We know we have a great tourism opportunity in Fermanagh and this much needed funding will help build something great.

Our intention is to release an early batch of our gin to consumers whilst we are waiting for the full size stills to be bought.  Vacuum distilling is a great way of getting flavor out of botanicals without extracting any harsh or undesirable flavours.  It’s also a great way of doing low volume batch runs.

It runs at 60 degrees and distills using a reduced air pressure.  Much like in the same way it’s a lot faster to boil a cup of tea when you’re up a mountain.

We are in talks with an experienced distiller who has worked largely with vacuum stills in the industry.

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