Whiskey maker Bushmills is planning to take on more staff as it looks to more than double production at its distillery over the next three years.
Owned by global drinks giant Diageo, the Old Bushmills Distillery currently employs 108 people, but said yesterday it expects this number to rise as it increases production from 450,000 cases to over a million cases by 2012.
The plans emerged following a visit to the 401 year old distillery by Employment Minister Sir Reg Empey.
On a tour of the Co Antrim distillery, the minister heard that the planned expansion of production volumes will require further building development on the site. This volume increase will also require a new maturation warehouse and further capital expenditure of around £1.4m.
Sir Reg said: "In these difficult times it is good to see one of our oldest companies weathering the current economic storm.
"The company has seen many a recession during its 400 year history and it has survived by ensuring it moves with the times, has a well trained workforce and provides a top quality end product.
"The proposed rise in the number of employees in the Distillery is welcome news to the local area, which has seen its share of redundancies over the past 18 months."
Diageo acquired the Bushmills Distillery from Pernod Ricard for £200m in 2005.