An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has announced the establishment of the first new whiskey distillery in Connaught, Ireland for over a century.
Officially launched yesterday, the Nephin Whiskey Company will create 18 full time jobs in the small village of Lahardaun, Co. Mayo, with a further 30 temporary positions during the construction phase.
A visitor centre will be constructed at the site and will attract up to 40,000 visitors per year creating opportunities for other small businesses in the area.
The project involves the renovation of several vacant buildings in the village, including a stone granary from the 1800s. Local businessman Michael Murphy called the distillery plans "A golden opportunity for the economic, social and aesthetic rejuvenation of the entire village."
Welcoming the boost to the area, An Taoiseach said "Broader economic recovery will be driven by small businesses creating high quality local jobs. I'm delighted that the announcement here today by Nephin Whiskey Company was made possible with the assistance of the Mayo Local Enterprise Office and with the support of the local community.
The Government considers Irish food and drink production as one of the most important domestic industries for the country and we have seen exports increase by nearly 20% since 2011. Nephin Whiskey Company is a perfect example of how we can use our natural strengths to broaden recovery and create jobs."
The Mayo distillery will produce a craft whiskey under their trademarked Nephin brand and managing director Dr. Paul Davis wants to get back to Connaught whiskey’s roots, "We’re sourcing locally, using turf smoke to dry the barley and running our own cooperage on site. All of that is unique today, but centuries ago would have been common in this part of the country."
Sales director, Mark Quick is hoping that local people, whiskey enthusiasts and those with Mayo connections will become involved and support the venture "We’ve had a fantastic response from people through social media and soon our followers will be able to buy a certificate of claim to one of the first numbered bottles of Nephin Whiskey" said the Ballina native.
Production should start towards the end of 2015.
Source: Nephin Whiskey