Belfast Telegraph

Spirits high after deal with luxury grocer

By John Mulgrew

The husband and wife team behind Co Down's Shortcross gin are pushing on with expansion and early plans for a new visitor centre.

And the thriving distillery has also unveiled a new spirit for upmarket luxury London grocer Fortnum & Mason.

Fiona and David Boyd-Armstrong opened the Rademon Estate Distillery in Crossgar in 2012. Since then, the business has already got its award-winning gin on to the shelves of some of the world's top bars.

It's now producing a cask-aged gin for Fortnum & Mason. Just 460 limited edition £40 bottles of their new gin are being released, including 300 in Northern Ireland and the Republic, with a further 160 to be sold at the luxury London retailer.

"We first got into Fortnum through Peter Hannan, who runs the Meat Merchant," Fiona Boyd-Armstrong said.

"Then we sent off samples, and got listed, and in August we launched into Fortnum, and that relationship has been growing.

"When they wanted something special, that's how the cask gin came about, and David went over to France to select the casks they were going into."

And demand for Shortcross means they are already running out of space.

"When you take into account the pallets, boxes and distillery, there's not enough room," Ms Boyd-Armstrong said.

"Our first whiskey also needs cask storage, so we are growing and developing the business.

"The key for us, we took the decision not to buy in any third-party products - we distil everything on the estate."

David Boyd-Armstrong said: "Our focus is primarily on Shortcross gin and growing the production of the malt whiskey.

"It is out plan to open a visitor centre this year. We want to create something special and unique, and we have a lot of ideas we are working through.

"It will be something a bit different from the normal run-of-the-mill."

Belfast Telegraph