Above: A CGI impression of the completed Clonakilty Waterfont building.
After a year of renovation, The Waterfront building in Clonakilty – formerly the Gaelscoil – is nearly ready to be unveiled at the town’s newest business and visitor attraction.
Those passing the site at Clonakilty Distillery may have noticed that three beautiful copper pot stills have recently been installed. Imported from Italy and beautifully handcrafted, these are the first whiskey stills to grace the former ‘Brewery town’. Behind the scenes, the team from Cahalane Builders are working at full speed to construct the visitor experience, retail area and café/bistro that all form part of this exciting development. Once open, visitors will be able to participate in a guided tour to see close up a working distillery in operation, taste a sample of the products and buy some to take home. For gin lovers, there will be separate Gin Tours on offer and also a Gin School where visitors can make their own bespoke gin using small, individual pot stills. It’s sure to be a very popular experience for a good night out. Finally, the adjoining Whale’s Tail Bistro will offer a high-quality menu featuring the best of locally sourced produce for both daytime and evening dining.
The team at Clonakilty Distillery can’t wait to welcome locals and tourists alike to The Waterfront and to a development that can only add to the existing attractions of the town. As well as the distillery in Clonakilty, the maturing warehouse is now up and running at Dunowen Farm by Galley Head, where the Scully family have farmed for eight generations. This is the only Irish distillery with a maturing warehouse on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It will be interesting to see what effect the clean sea spray-laden air will have on the whiskey over time.
While The Waterfront development is being completed, the team at Clonakilty Distillery has also been busy with the development and production of its Minke Irish Gin, which was launched on to the market at the beginning of July. Clonakilty Distillery would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported it in its first launch – from all of the local shops and bars to the customers who have given such positive feedback. A key botanical is the locally harvested rock samphire, which gives Minke a distinctive flavour with notes of citrus and aniseed. In addition, the whey base spirit (sourced from local dairy farms) gives Minke a smooth, sophisticated refreshment. It’s got true grass to glass provenance.
The next development is the launch of the first two expressions of the Clonakilty Irish Whiskey, available locally from the beginning of September. The Single Batch whiskey is made from a blend of eight-year-old Irish grain and 10-year-old triple distilled Irish malt whiskey. This cask strength whiskey is stored in Clonakilty Distillery’s warehouse, which sits high on the cliffs within sight of Galley Head. Here it is matured, blended and then gently cut with water from a dedicated deep source well, naturally filtered through the coastal rock formations. This allows Master Distiller Paul Corbett (previously with Teelings Distillery) to slowly marry the elements to preserve the unique smoothness and taste that comes straight from the cask. For the Port Cask expression, Paul finishes the whiskey in casks imported from the Douro Valley in Portugal. This extra finish adds a sweetness with spicy notes and a beautiful rich colour. Once The Waterfront is open, in another link between product and place, the barley grown on the family farm right next to the Galley Head lighthouse will be used in the distillery as a key ingredient in the whiskeys.
The Waterfront Distillery, Visitor Experience and the Whale’s Tail Bistro are planned to open in mid-November. On-line booking facilities for tours, the gin school and bistro will be available from mid-October via the website www.clonakiltydistillery.ie
Follow Clonakilty Distillery’s progress with updates on the development and details of stockists of its products on social media.