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Trailblazing Co Down distillery eyes future with expansion plan

An award-winning Co Down whiskey maker has revealed plans for a significant expansion at its Ards Peninsula base.

Fresh from three major wins at the World Whiskies Awards, Echlinville Distillery, which produces Jawbox Gin and the revived Dunville's Irish Whiskey, has submitted a planning application to build three new warehouses at its plant near Kircubbin.

Set up by Shane Braniff, Echlinville takes its name from the nearby manor house.

It became the first newly licensed distillery in Ulster for over 125 years when it began production in 2013.

Echlinville has been at the forefront of a new wave of distilleries which have emerged around the island in the past decade.

Its revival of the famed Dunville's Irish Whiskey has been a key factor in its success.

The brand has just won three gongs at the World Whiskies Awards.

The business now says it needs to build the three warehouses to support the sustained growth of the distillery.

Describing its current storage as "inadequate", the distillery is planning two new warehouses for the long-term storage of its alcoholic spirits, and a third for other materials and equipment.

Based on a farm, Echlinville describes itself as a "field to glass" distillery, with its products made from barley grown and harvested from its own fields.

Its plan comes a few months after a £7.3m bid to revive the Matt D'Arcy & Company whiskey distillery in Newry was given planning permission.

Bushmills is also pressing ahead with a large expansion at its Co Antrim distillery. It is expected to begin construction on 29 new storage warehouses later this year.

Commenting on the recent success, Mr Braniff said: "To bring home three World Whiskies Awards is a huge achievement for us and is testament to the hard work and commitment of the team here at Echlinville.

"It is an excellent start to what promises to be a great year for us.

"We are looking forward to a number of new releases in the coming months.

"We are also working on an exciting new addition to the Dunville's family - one that will be an important nod to an often forgotten chapter of the brand's rich history, and will also mark a new and innovative chapter in the Dunville's story."

Mr Braniff added: "We will reveal more on that over the coming weeks."

Belfast Telegraph