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Sliabh Liag gets green light for whiskey distillery

Ireland’s Sliabh Liag Distillers has secured planning approval to build a €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.

The Sliabh Liag Distillery in Ardara, Donegal

Sliabh Liag, which produces An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, submitted the application to Donegal County Council in April this year.

The new site, based at the Show Field in Ardara, will begin construction later this year, with distilling operations expected to commence next year.

The facility will have the capacity to produce 400,000 litres of pure alcohol annually, which equates to around 1,700 filled casks, and more than 1.2 million bottles of whiskey when sold.

The Irish spirits producer plans to create a number of brands, including the Ardara and Sliabh Liag single malt and pot still whiskeys, which will be heavily peated and inspired by the style of 19th century whiskeys from Donegal.

The firm will also move production of its An Dúlamán gin from its current site in Carrick to the new distillery.

In addition, the site will incorporate a visitor experience, which will cover the history of Poitín and include a tasting bar and shop. There will be no café or restaurant, with visitors encouraged to make use of local food offerings.

The new distillery will create jobs for at least 40 people.

“We are really excited to get the go-ahead from Donegal County Council and we look forward to commissioning the distillery and reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal,” said James Doherty, managing director of Sliabh Liag Distillers.

“The mix of contemporary and traditional finishes will complement the village of Ardara. Our aim is 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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