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Delayed Belfast distillery project gets green light

The Belfast Distillery Company has received planning approval to build a £25 million (US$34.7m) whiskey distillery on the site of a former jail in Northern Ireland’s capital.

The McConnell’s Irish whiskey brand was revived in 2020

The long-delayed project at the former Crumlin Road Gaol jail was first announced in 2012 by the Belfast Distillery Company (BDC).

At the time, the project was spearheaded by local businessman Peter Lavery, who last year revealed plans to build a new Irish whiskey distillery and visitor centre in Belfast on the site where the RMS Titanic was built.

The distillery project previously gained planning permission in 2013 and was due to be completed in 2016.

A group of American investors took over the project, acquiring the assets of BDC, which included the McConnell’s Irish whiskey brand name.

Recently appointed CEO John Kelly said: “Securing planning permission is a very welcome milestone for Belfast Distillery Company and our plans to build a distillery and visitor centre on this unique site in the former Crumlin Road Gaol jail.

“As we emerge from the Covid era, tourism will have a crucial role to play in rebuilding the local economy and this project can ultimately bring dozens of high-quality jobs to Belfast and bring many tourists to north Belfast once opened.

“We remain in ongoing dialogue with other government departments and we hope to move into the building phase in the months ahead.”

After more than 90 years, the McConnell’s Irish whiskey brand was resurrected in 2020 with its return to the US market.

McConnell’s Irish Whisky was originally established in Belfast, Ireland, in 1776 by two brothers, John and James McConnell. It is written without the ‘e’ due to how it was originally spelled.

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