Shortcross Gin in high spirits as it casks new whiskey
The Co Down husband and wife team behind Shortcross Gin are set to launch a new Irish malt whiskey.
The new spirit will be entirely produced on-site at the Rademon Estate Distillery in Crossgar and completes a £1.5m investment made by the business.
And the continued expansion of the company is also creating six new jobs.
The new product comes after husband and wife team David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong opened the Rademon Estate Distillery in 2012.
Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, managing director, said the distillery was taking "total control" of the product from start to finish.
And head distiller David Boyd-Armstrong said the new whiskey would be aimed at the exclusive end of the market when it eventually goes on sale in at least three years' time.
"It's small batch and at the top end of the market," he said.
He said the new whiskey arm of the business would become a "sizeable asset" of the distillery. The pair have said business has grown considerable "in the key markets". That includes Northern Ireland, the Republic as well as the rest of the UK and further afield.
"We are starting to achieve our goal of exporting to other countries," Ms Boyd-Armstrong said.
"The support has been phenomenal from both the consumers and trade."
Ms Boyd-Armstrong is the daughter of well-known property developer and Rademon Estate owner Frank Boyd - one of Northern Ireland's richest men.
The first casks of their new small batch Irish whiskey have been sealed and production is now getting under way, with 100 barrels expected to be casked within the first year.
Fiona Boyd-Armstrong said: "We are proud to announce this project and that this will be amongst the first Irish whiskies to be distilled in Northern Ireland."
Meanwhile, David Boyd-Armstrong said he was "thrilled we have developed what I know will be a fantastic Irish malt whiskey and I'm greatly looking forward to August 2018 when we will be able to sample our first three-year-old product".
He added: "This style of whiskey is a personal favourite of mine due to the complex flavour profile and I feel it is under-represented in the market."
The whiskey will be matured in a variety of casks, which the distillery hopes will allow new flavours and aromas to be developed.
But it's going to be at least a three-year wait for the whiskey to hit the shelves - the minimum amount of time needed before a raw spirit can technically be called "whiskey".
The business has been given a £50,000 grant towards the new product, through Invest NI's Boosting Business scheme.
As well as winning several awards over the last two years, Shortcross Gin is also now being sold at Dublin Airport.