It has been over two years since the Belfast Distillery Company (BDC) were given permission to transform the historic site of Crumlin Road Gaol into a 480,000-litre distillery, construction of the site is now underway and expected to complete by early 2016. In the meantime however, BDC wish to expand their horizons and are now focusing on growing their presence in the international market, where the demand for Irish whiskey is on the rise.
Simon Rae, chairman and majority shareholder of BDC, said: “We want to build the brand where we know people like Irish whisky at the moment. We believe we can make a significant mark on the market with the liquid we’ve got. And on top of the liquid we’ve secured we have an option on more, in the event we oversell.”
This means that McConnell’s will be focusing on mature whiskey markets such as the United States, United Kingdom, the Nordics and, of course, Ireland. They hope that, for now, the introduction of various limited edition bottlings will tide them over until they can open their “state of the art” distillery, which will also act as a tourist attraction for the area.
BDC has recently signed a 125-year lease with the Belfast government for the Crumlin Road site, which is situated near the original location of McConnell’s original Cromac Distillery that closed in the 1920s.