Tuesday, March 13, 2018


The Waterford Distillery, has announced that it has become the first distillery to create Irish whisky using biodynamic barley.

The innovative Irish distillery set an industry milestone in 2016, when it distilled Ireland’s first organic whisky. The new biodynamic distillation takes it to a whole new level, creating a significant first for the Irish drinks industry.

Waterford Distillery CEO Mark Reynier nosing the biodynamic distillation

The principles of Biodynamic agriculture, which include a farm becoming self-sufficient for all its needs, relying on home-made organic fertilisers and naturally occurring plant insecticides, were first outlined in 1924 by Austrian philosopher Dr Rudolf Steiner.

Working closely with Minch Maltsters, the pioneering farmers that answered the call to grow the biodynamic barley were John McDonnell, Co. Meath; Alan Mooney, Kilcock, Co. Kildare; and Trevor Harris from Naas, Co. Kildare.

Commenting on the news, Mark Reynier, Waterford Distillery CEO, said: “Biodynamics is a farming philosophy, a way of life. It’s fascinating to see the world’s greatest wine makers attracted to this time-consuming way of running their farms. It started with the fear of losing the accumulated knowledge of millennia to the march of the agrochemical industry last century. It’s about minimal treatments, ancient homeopathic remedies, natural fertilisers focused on enhancing the biodiversity of a naturally healthy soil.”

He went onto say: “It all sounds pretty crazy, it’s easy to dismiss as cranky tree-hugging bunkum, but yet it’s funny how the greatest wines in the world are made under this unusual regime. Only natural we should give it a go for our whisky. As part of our extensive research we travelled Alsace, to see bioydynamics in action. So I wanted to extend my thanks to Olivier Humbrrecht and Jean Paul Zusslin – as well as to Trevor Harris, John McDonnell and Alan Mooney for rising to the challenge when I first raised the idea in 2015.”

Though biodynamic farming methods may appear eccentric, many of the greatest wine producers, including the legendary Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Romanee Conti, and Chateau Margaux, maintain biodynamic vineyards.

The Waterford Distillery recently received the prestigious Demeter certification from the Biodynamic Association, which it holds alongside its existing certification from the Organic Trust.
Posted by Steve Rush