South Africans win whiskey contest
Ireland's oldest distillery is packing up its stills and heading to South Africa after two whiskey fans from the country won an international challenge to host its first international tour.
Sean Tickner, 30, from Cape Town, and Jonathan Oliff, 28, from Durban, triumphed in the two-day contest in Bushmills, on Co Antrim's scenic Causeway coast, to find a temporary home for the makers of the 400-year-old tipple.
The friends won out against 10 other teams from all over the world in the energetic and diverse Bushcamp, which included barrel-rolling, golfing on the beach and, of course, whiskey tasting.
As well as welcoming Bushmills to their country later this year, the keen surfers, who are married to identical twin sisters, have also landed the chance to spend two weeks working at the famous distillers to create their own unique blend of the whiskey.
And then it will be back to South Africa to prepare for the arrival of Bushmills Master Blender Colum Egan and his team when they will stage a huge Bushmills party.
Sean, who works in prosthetic limb care, and marketing consultant Jonathan, won through to the Bushcamp finals after entering the 'Make it 2 Bushmills' competition on the distillery's Facebook page and then campaigned for public votes to clinch their national contest.
Sean said they were thrilled to come to Ireland to win the whole thing against teams from countries including Russia, Germany and the USA.
"It's amazing to be named the winners of Make it 2 Bushmills," he said. "We came to the global final here in Bushmills to do our country proud - we can't wait to take the distillery home to South Africa."
Master distiller Mr Egan said the pair were worthy victors.
"Sean and Jonathan have shown throughout Make it 2 Bushmills that they are great friends, with a genuine love for life and a fantastic sense of humour," he said. "We can't wait to welcome them into the distillery family and then work to take the distillery 'on tour' to South Africa...it's going to be some party."