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Bushmills whiskey firm to expand distillery with plans for 30 warehouses

By John Mulgrew

Bushmills distillery is planning to build almost 30 huge warehouses to mature its world-famous Irish whiskey, it can be revealed.

The Co Antrim distillery has lodged plans to add the buildings close to its existing historic site just outside the town.

Plans revealed the warehouses will be built gradually over more than a decade.

It comes little over a year after the new owner of Bushmills, Jose Cuervo, lodged plans to build a £30m expansion to its current distillery.

The company has now been given permission for the facility which, it says, will "effectively double production capacity".

Colum Egan, master distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, told the Belfast Telegraph that the new extension will help the international whiskey brand grow across the globe.

"At Bushmills Irish Whiskey our primary focus is always on making great whiskey and introducing it to more and more discerning whiskey drinkers around the world.

"As part of that growth we have received outline planning permission for the expansion of a new distillery facility on 62 acres of agricultural land surrounding the existing site.

"Extensive consultations have been undertaken with the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and a wide range of statutory bodies, to identify this particular area of land as the preferred site to build.

"It is an exciting time for the Irish whiskey category which continues to experience significant growth and this expansion is an important factor in facilitating the future growth of Bushmills Irish Whiskey."

The company that originally built the distillery was formed in 1784. The new expansion is part of a "masterplan" established in 2007 and it is expected to lead to up to 20 jobs with a 10-15% rise in the wages bill. The distillery currently employs around 150 staff.

Under the plan there will be around £3m of capital expenditure at the distillery every year for the next 10 to 15 years.

The application encompasses details of a new tourism and visitor centre. The company has previously said its aim is to produce a "world class" facility.

In the 34-page document, the plans stated that the "new distillery facility will effectively double production capacity".

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