Whiskey distillery in Cushendall set to get green light

Whiskey distillery in Cushendall set to get green light

A bid to develop a new Irish whiskey distillery in Cushendall looks set to go ahead after more than three years in the planning process.

The Glens of Antrim Distillery would see a new spirit-making facility and tourist visitor centre developed on Gortaclee Road, next to the Ruairí Óg’s hurling and camogie club.

The proposal for the project was first launched by the McKillop family in 2020.

More than three years on, planning officials at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council have recommended the application should be approved.

That recommendation is expected to get the green light at Wednesday’s meeting of the council’s planning committee.

The McKillop family, best known for the Glens of Antrim potato and crisp operation in Cushendall, launched their own Lír Irish Whiskey brand in 2016.

The company completed its first shipment to the United States in July 2023, exporting 7,000 bottles of its Lír Green Crest Irish whiskey into the American market.

But the family ultimately plan to distil their own whiskey in Cushendall.

They said the new distillery “will strengthen our ties with the local community and create numerous job opportunities in the area”.

The application for the distillery, first submitted in December 2020, has been in the planning process for some 38 months.

The report revealed 31 letters of objections were received. But there has been considerable backing locally, with dozens of people signing a petition of support.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson and Alliance MLA Danny Donnelly have also lent their backing to the venture, alongside well known figures in Cushendall, including Terence and Christy McNaughton.

After many months and many consultations, planning officials at the Causeway Coast and Glens council have finally recommended that the project should go ahead.

Officials said the proposed development is considered acceptable at the location, with the principle of economic development established.