NI businessman Terry Cross OBE will create around 40 new jobs with the opening of a new whiskey and gin distillery between Belfast and Ballynahinch.
The 30,000 sq ft distillery will produce Mr Cross’s Craft Hinch Irish Whiskey brands and Ninth Wave Gin.
The scheme, which should be complete in the middle of next year, will also feature a visitor centre, pub, restaurant, and event space.
The new distillery takes its name from the nearby town of Ballynahinch and Mr Cross says that he is keen to tap the potential of the phenomenal global growth in whiskey and gin sales:
‘We are launching the Hinch Distillery to provide visitors with a highly differentiated product and experience that couples the production of our quality spirits with a story and heritage,’ he added. ‘We hope it will become an attraction in its own right and offer guests a real understanding of the skills and methods needed to produce our spirits.’
Mr Cross is no stranger to the drinks industry having rescued Château de La Ligne, a Bordeaux vineyard, more than 20 years ago and restored it to its former glory. He will be the company chairman of Hinch Distillery while Derek Hardy will undertake the role of managing director.
‘Hinch Irish Whiskeys and Ninth Wave Gin are already making waves globally. We have a presence in 15 markets including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and European countries,’ said Mr Hardy. ‘Our goal is to double our export markets by the end of 2020 and the timing of the Hinch Distillery opening couldn’t come at a better time for us.’
Belfast-born head distiller, Aaron Flaherty, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the whiskey distilling business, including roles at Bushmills and Scotch Distillery sites, said: ‘Hinch Distillery is a unique experience producing premium products and this development will validate that and expose the effort and patience that is behind the creation of our five whiskey variants and our Ninth Wave Gin.
‘Our Time Collection of whiskeys caters to a range of palates. The taste profiles vary with smooth, smoky and aromatic variations appealing to the discerning whiskey connoisseur and indeed to new customers.
‘Our mystical Ninth Wave gin is as equally otherworldly and we’re very proud of the methods that go into making our products. They show that Hinch Distillery is so much more than a drinks producer. We have a distillery with a story and the opening of the site is just our first chapter.’