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Coronavirus: Investment boost for Boatyard Distillery as it moves into sanitiser

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Joe McGirr of The Boatyard Distillery

Joe McGirr of The Boatyard Distillery

Joe McGirr of The Boatyard Distillery

A Co Fermanagh gin distillery has announced it's won £634,000 investment through a network of business angels.

The Boatyard Distillery said it had raised the funds through private investors in the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) and Co-Fund II.

And the company has also started making hand sanitiser in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boatyard is based on the shores of Lough Erne and was set up in 2016.

It produces Boatyard Double Gin, Old Tom Gin and vodka. It has secured deals with upmarket grocers Marks & Spencer and Waitrose to stock their spirits across Great Britain and Ireland.

Founder Joe McGirr said: "We are really pleased to secure this investment and excited about the unique experience our new investors will bring, particularly when it comes to growing our presence overseas.

"The gin market remains highly competitive but we offer something different, with some botanicals grown on the family farm.

"Right now, Covid-19 has interrupted some of our immediate plans but we have responded to the situation by being innovative and using our expertise to produce a product that is not only in high demand but which our health service desperately needs.

"We are pleased to play our part in the fight against Covid-19 by donating supplies to help those people on the frontline doing great work for everyone in the Fermanagh region."

The company is using ethanol to make hand sanitiser. It's given away over 1,200 litres to NHS key workers and supermarket staff in Fermanagh, and is now selling to customers in other industries at home and abroad.

The sanitiser will be stocked in Tesco stores throughout Northern Ireland from this week. Of the £634,000, £460,000 was from HBAN business angels. HBAN is an all-island network, set up by economic development Invest NI, its counterpart in the Republic Enterprise Ireland and cross-border body InterTradeIreland. It allows companies to pitch to angel investors for funding.

Brian Cummings of Clarendon Fund Managers, which manages HBAN in Northern Ireland, said: "The Boatyard Distillery has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years... their ability to quickly pivot into the production of hand sanitiser demonstrates what an innovative business this is."

Belfast Telegraph