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Cheers: Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI with Shane Braniff, owner of Echlinville Distillery

Cheers: Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI with Shane Braniff, owner of Echlinville Distillery

Cheers: Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI with Shane Braniff, owner of Echlinville Distillery

The Distillery in Co Down which produces Jawbox Gin and Dunville Irish whiskey is investing over £9m in an expansion bringing 36 new jobs

The Echlinville Distillery in Kircubbin distils and bottles Echlinville, Jawbox and Weavers gin, as well as Dunville's Irish whiskey and its own poitin.

It recently reached a distribution deal which has brought Dunville to the shelves of 900 Canadian stores. Jawbox is a premium brand owned by former John Hewitt bar boss Gerry White, and stocked in major UK supermarkets.

Now Echlinville is expanding to increase production and add a new visitors' centre - with economic development agency Invest NI backing the expansion with £659,000 of funding.

The jobs will contribute an extra £1m in wages to the economy - with the average salary of around £27,700. The 36 new jobs on offer include operational, administrative and visitor centre roles.

Echlinville owner Shane Braniff said: "This investment will help us to substantially increase our production capacity and grow our export sales tenfold over the next five years.

"We are adding capacity in distillation, bottling, labelling, storage and brand development, all of which are key to further establishing our brands in major international markets including Russia and the US... Irish whiskey is recognised as the world's fastest growing spirits category, which is giving us a great foundation upon which to build our export business with the help of this funding from Invest NI."

Invest NI's chief executive Kevin Holland said: "Since establishing in 2012, Echlinville Distillery has developed a number of well-established brands which are making their mark on the international whiskey and gin market."

Belfast Telegraph