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Taoiseach to launch whiskey company in Lahardane

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1507 Enda-crop
BATTING FOR UISCE BEATHA Enda Kenny will officially launch Nephin Irish Whiskey in Murphy’s Bar, Lahardane, next week.

Mayo’s first whiskey distillery in 100 years to open in Lahardane



Anton McNulty

The first whiskey distillery in Mayo in over 100 years will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Lahardane, with the prospect of up to 20 jobs being created.
The tiny north Mayo village will become the home of Nephin Irish Whiskey which will distill  Peated Single Malt Whiskey and will be launched by the Taoiseach in Murphy’s Bar in Lahardane next Monday at 3pm.
The company was created by husband and wife team, Paul and Jude Davis, who hope to have the distillery up and running in the next 12 months. Speaking to The Mayo News, Paul, who has lived in Lahardane for the past seven years, believes that the location is ideal for the production of premium whiskey.
“The location is one of the best in Mayo and probably in Ireland because it is situated between Nephin and Lough Conn and that is a perfect situation. To me this is the best location, you could not ask for better. What we do differently is that we will produce peated whiskey where in Ireland you would not normally use peat to dry the barley. They would not have used coal or gas 150 years ago but we are going back to that traditional side,” he said.
Paul explained that his background is not in the alcohol business but they have teamed up with ex-distillers who worked with alcohol giant Diageo who will advise them on putting in a ‘state of the art distillery’.
The distillery will be located in the heart of the village near Barrett’s shop and as well as distilling whiskey Paul envisages the plant being part of the north Mayo tourist trail which he believes can attract up to 40,000 visitors per year to the locality. He hopes to create 18 full time jobs and believes the business has a huge growth potential.
Planning for the distillery has not been approved but Paul explained that investment in the region of €3 to €4 million has been lined up by international investors with links to the county. The project involves the renovation of several vacant buildings in the village, including a stone granary from the 1800s.
The whiskey, Paul says, will be targeted at the international market with an emphasis on the United States and will be a long term venture.
“We will be targeting the premium and super premium side of the market but we will look to use the Mayo links abroad with the States being the premium market place. We will be using different flavours such as heather and gorse because we feel that flavour is more important now than before.
“The locals here are very excited and we hope to employ local people and to bring 18 jobs to a place like Lahardane is the equivalent to 500 jobs in Castlebar. We have integrated into the village and the distillery will be here long after we are gone,” he said.