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Sliabh Liag submits plans for €6m whiskey distillery

Ireland’s Sliabh Liag Distillers has submitted a planning application to build a new €6 million (US$6.7m) distillery and visitor centre in Donegal, which would bring Irish whiskey production back to the county for the first time in 177 years.

A drawing of the proposed Sliabh Liag distillery in Ardara, County Donegal

Sliabh Liag, which produces An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, submitted the application to Donegal County Council today (4 April).

Subject to approval, the construction of the distillery in Ardara is expected to start later this year, with distilling operations beginning in 2020.

Led by company directors James and Moria Doherty and James Keith, the site will employ at least 40 people. It will have the production capacity of 400,000 litres annually – the equivalent of around 1,700 filled casks and more than 1.2 million bottles of whiskey.

The company plans to create a number of brands, including Ardara and Sliabh Liag Irish single malt and pot still whiskeys, which will be heavily peated and “authentic to the style of 19th century whiskeys” from County Donegal.

Sliabh Liag will also move its gin still from Carrick to the new building.

Plans for the new visitor centre include a poitín museum, exhibition space, tasting bar and shop.

The site will be designed by Corner Stone Architecture to “complement the village and its natural surroundings”.

James Doherty, managing director of Sliabh Liag Distillers, said: “The design of the development is a mix of contemporary and traditional finishes which complement the village of Ardara.

“We have put considerable thought into the visitor experience and aim to create an opportunity for visitors to park in the village, walk along the Owentocker river, across a new footbridge and into the Show Field.

“It is important to us that local businesses benefit from the footfall, and if we can get visitors walking in the village, increasing their dwell time, then so much the better for the entire community.”

“Enhancing Ardara’s offering to its community and visitors has been a major consideration throughout the design process.

“We intend to conserve the portion of the land nearest to the village as an open green space, with walkways and ponds providing a beautifully landscaped area to be enjoyed by everybody.”

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