Northern Ireland's first premium gin to be crafted here in over a century has secured funding for a £500,000 project that will create three new jobs.
Rademon Drinks in Crossgar has won the backing of Invest Northern Ireland which has offered £42,782 to develop and launch its new ShortCross Premium Gin – the first in a portfolio of small batch alcoholic beverages the company plans to develop at its new boutique distillery on the town's Rademon Estate.
The investment will allow company founders, husband and wife team David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, to explore export opportunities for the new gin.
In addition, the company has received design and technical assistance. The new brand of gin follows what the couple identified as a positive market for the product.
Mrs Boyd-Armstrong said: "Our objective in setting up Rademon Drinks is to exploit a developing market opportunity in Britain and other parts of Europe for premium small batch gin and other spirits.
"Although the overall UK gin market experienced a small decline in sales between 2006 and 2011, premium gins are increasing in popularity, especially among younger consumers who are becoming much more adventurous and prepared to try new styles of established spirits. "We are seeking to revive a distilling tradition that stretches back over two centuries to a period when many larger towns in Northern Ireland had distilleries producing gin."
Rademon's products are being pitched at the upper-end of the market, creating spirits which are produced in small batches with tight quality controls.
Moira Loughran, Invest NI's Eastern Regional Manager, said the venture was a "very innovative business initiative that's targeted at a niche sector".
"Invest NI's support to the company reflects our strategic focus on promoting enterprise, innovation and internationalisation with the food and drink industry, which currently contributes around £4.5 billion to the local economy."