Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland. August 16th, 2021 – Today marks a significant milestone in the 7 year journey of the Connacht Distillery, as we release the first core expression of whiskey to be distilled at our own facility in Ballina. Following a €10 million investment from our founders, construction began on the site of the old Duffy’s bakery in 2015 to convert it into a state-of-the-art craft distillery and the team started laying down whiskey in 2016. Earlier this year the distillery released First Cask, a single inaugural cask of five year old Single Malt, as a celebration of the journey so far. The 800 collector edition bottles retailed at €150 and sold out within weeks.
From 2016 until now, the Connacht Distillery team, led by Master Distiller Robert Cassell, have kept busy by creating a range of other award winning spirits; namely Conncullin Irish Gin, StrawBoys vodka and poitín, and sourced whiskey brands Ballyhoo and Spade & Bushel.
Well known in the industry for his innovative approach to making spirits, Cassell says “what we’re trying to do in Irish whiskey is bring innovation that is both forward looking and a nod to the past, whether it’s different cask finishes or mash bills, the idea is to take a traditional element and put our own unique spin on it”.
After a long four year wait, the time has finally come for the team to release the very first core expression of Connacht Irish Whiskey, the first whiskey from Mayo in over 150 years. In doing so, the distillery has become one of the few in Ireland to produce a Single Malt product made entirely of its own spirit.
Commercial Director, Killian O’Sullivan said “the launch of our first whiskey marks an exciting new chapter for the Connacht Distillery; it’s not every day that you get to launch a new whiskey of such significance to not just the county of Mayo but to the province that the distillery takes its name from. When it comes to ageing whiskey, there’s no perfect time, just the right time and we know that this is the right time to share our extraordinary liquid with everyone who has been watching our journey over the last few years”.
To support the gear-change in business for the Connacht Distillery, we have in recent months announced the appointment of Bevella (Primeline Group) as our Irish distribution partner, hired a Dublin based brand ambassador and are currently in the process of expanding the distilling team and bolstering production capabilities with new machinery.
Commenting on the news, Tom Jensen, Co-Founder & CEO of the Connacht Distillery, said “this really is the culmination of a decade long dream for us that has been fuelled by our connections to the West of Ireland as well as a strong desire to create a whiskey that is reflective of the unique characteristics of the region”. It’s been a long road, one made even longer by us choosing to age our whiskey beyond the legal minimum of 3 years, but we couldn’t be happier to take our place in the dynamic Irish whiskey market”.
Batch 1 of this Single Malt is Crafted by the Atlantic™ using 100% malted Irish barley, double distilled in bespoke copper pot stills designed and produced in Canada to Cassell’s particular specifications, then aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. With first aromas of raisin, a honey sweetness and hints of almond and star anise, it has a palate of vanilla, spices, dried fruit and malt, with a warming, full bodied finish.
Priced at €65 (RRP) per 700ml bottle, Connacht Single Malt Irish Whiskey (47% ABV) is available to purchase from today, 16th August, 2021 at www.connachtwhiskey.com and select retailers across Ireland, with international distribution rolling out in the US, France and Germany soon afterwards.