Belfast Telegraph

New distillery planning visitor and tasting centre for range of spirits


Darren Nugent, the co-founder of Ion Distillery
Darren Nugent, the co-founder of Ion Distillery

By Gerald Lennon

A new distillery will be launched later this year with premises including a visitors centre and tasting room, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

The people behind Ion Distillery have been brewing beer since 2014. Now they are planning a range of spirits including rum, vodka and gin, to be distilled from scratch in Northern Ireland.

The drinks company will be located on Drumnakilly Road in Carrickmore and has been set up by Pokertree Brewing Company.

Darren Nugent, the co-founder of Ion Distillery, said the idea came after they noticed a "growing interest" from people wanting to see how the drinks were produced.

"When we decided to move into spirit production, we thought it would be a great accompaniment for our products, and we would be able to display them in a nice setting, so people could come and see first-hand what we do," he said.

Mr Nugent said it will be a major investment by the distillery company which will create jobs once the centre is operational.

"We're looking to produce our own rum from scratch," he said.

"A lot of companies that make rum would have imported it from the Caribbean, but the spirits we make will be made on premises here.

"We can produce a great volume of spirit without having to move premises. The craft spirit market is booming but it is such a small part of an overall massive market."

The new home of Ireland's first 100% locally made craft rums, unique gins and vodkas will be launching later this year.

Ion Distillery has said its products will be made using water from their artisan well filtered through ancient volcanic rock, situated below their base of operation.

Mr Nugent said he believed there was strong tourist potential in the plans.

"If we can get visitors to come to the middle of Tyrone and, if we can combine with other things, in years to come maybe we could develop a craft drinks trail for visitors.

"The tourism industry here is one of our biggest potentials. The food and drink sector are the biggest growth area within that. We have the scenery; and tourists love coming here," he added.

Ion Distillery has issued tenders for the building process.

Belfast Telegraph