Niche Drinks

Niche Drinks say it’s Whiskey Galore for Derry

9 May 2013

It’s a case of Whiskey Galore for Derry as local drinks manufacturer Niche Drinks, was this week granted planning permission by Derry City Council for a new build cream liqueur factory and Irish Whiskey distillery at Campsie on the outskirts of the city.

At the end of the 19th century and well into the early 20th century, Derry was a world leader in whiskey production and  the Watts Distillery at Abbey Street was the largest distillery in Ireland.

Niche Drinks aim to revive that once proud tradition of whiskey production and the opening of the first distillery to be built in Derry in 200 years is part of a £15m investment the company are making in the city.

Niche Drinks have been manufacturing and exporting cream liqueurs from their site at the old Leckpatrick Dairy on Rossdowney Road for almost 30 years, but as Managing Director Ciaran Mulgrew pointed out, keeping the site up to modern day production standards is becoming more difficult.

“Our current town site has been in use as either a dairy or drinks manufacturing plant for over 50 years and while we continue to operate to the highest international standards, it gets harder to maintain the production facilities as each year goes by.

Consequently we decided to relocate Niche Drinks to a new custom built factory here in Derry and seek Planning Approval for change of use of the existing town site at Rossdowney Road to a supermarket use to help fund this.

We have been delighted by the response to our application from local politicians, local suppliers and from Derry City Council who have been tremendously supportive.

The last hurdle for us to clear is to secure Planning Permission for change of use of the existing town site at Rossdowney Road to a supermarket use, the proceeds from a sale of this site will be invested in the new factory and distillery”

He went on to say, “Our business has remained strong even in the current climate and we have to plan for the future.  We want to increase our production capacity and to add new technologies into the business and that is why we are building a distillery in the new factory.”

Niche Drinks employ up to 90 people at peak production periods and are the largest outlet for cream for local farmers. Mr Mulgrew confirmed that the new distillery also plans to use locally produced grain in its whiskey production process.

Mr Mulgrew said “Over the last 30 years, Niche Drinks have paid around £300m in Corporation Tax, Duty, PAYE and in sourcing local inputs. For a locally owned business like ours, building a new drinks factory and distillery is a big commitment. We are keeping our fingers crossed for an early decision on our application for a change of use of our current site to supermarket use and we will then invest the proceeds from a sale of that site into the new facility.”

Ciaran Mulgrew
P: 02871 314765
M: 07802 315485