Northern Ireland’s newest tourist attraction launches whiskey and gin tours

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Hinch Distillery’s intimate tours, The Experience, will showcase the distilling process behind its Hinch whiskeys and Ninth Wave gin providing tastings as well as the chance to make your own gin

Northern Ireland’s newest hospitality offering, Hinch Distillery, which lies in the heart of Co. Down on the Killaney Estate, has opened its booking system for guided whiskey and gin tours today, as restrictions ease. 

The venue, which is home to the globally acclaimed Hinch Irish Whiskey and Ninth Wave Irish Gin brands, which have already attracted coveted international awards, will kick off its inaugural gin tour on August 1, accommodating 10 guests and gradually increasing capacity to 16 guests as restrictions allow. Whiskey tours are available to enjoy during June, and beyond.

The Experience will unwrap the mastery behind making a world-renowned whiskey and gin, as well as the story behind the business. 

Guests will also soak up the individual steps of the distilling process on the tour including the Ingredients Room, Mash House, Still House, Spectrum Room and the Tasting Room where they can sample some whiskeys while enjoying the sleek, modern decor that has been masterminded by the same team behind New York’s Dead Rabbit.

The Ninth Wave Gin tour will allow guests to not only uncover the craft involved in making gin, but lend their hand in making their very own bespoke gin to bring home by attending the Gin School Experience.

The full reopening of the distillery, including its new restaurant, retail shop and events spaces has been a long time coming for the business, which opened its doors in November 2019, with plans to launch its £15m facility and visitor attraction last summer.

Pandemic-induced restrictions on social establishments saw it postpone that launch until May 24 when it opened the doors to its stunning Hinch Brasserie restaurant, the newest culinary offering in Northern Ireland, featuring a menu of Irish fusion dishes. 

The Hinch Distillery complex was founded by NI entrepreneur Dr Terry Cross OBE, who previously owned Delta Print and Packaging Limited.

No stranger to the drinks sector, Dr Cross took over Château de La Ligne, a Bordeaux vineyard over 20 years ago, and restored it to its former glory. He has been carrying on the tradition of the estate by producing a variety of Bordeaux Merlots and more over the years.

Speaking about launching the next instalment of his new business, Hinch Distillery Chairman Dr Terry Cross OBE said: “For many people, Hinch Distillery is a brand new asset in the tourism crown here, but for us it’s already been a wild and wonderful journey of securing massive contracts internationally and beckoning prestigious awards. 

“We’ve been very innovative in this time launching a wide and varied selection of spirits; from small releases of beer cask finished whiskeys and others finished in unusual casks, to our new Ninth Wave Export Gin which at 46% has even bigger and bolder flavours than its classic sibling’s 43% ABV. This is available from the 25th June.

“To finally be able to launch our tours and expose that range to the public is a very proud moment. We can’t wait to showcase what we’ve been doing, how we’ve been doing it and begin what will be a story of indigenous NI craft, skill and hospitality.”

Alan Greer, Hinch Visitors Centre Sales Development Manager, added: “Hinch Distillery has been working hard behind the scenes since its production lines opened in November 2019 and distilling started on site in November 2020 and to be able to unveil that process in its entirety to the Northern Ireland public and our visitors has been a highly anticipated moment. 

“The visitor tour experience will be unlike no other and really enrich the drinks tourism sector in Northern Ireland. We hope to educate and indulge whiskey connoisseurs and novices alike in the coming months and expect big demand for both our whiskey and gin tours. 

“As the staycation market is extremely strong this year, we do believe booking slots will sell extremely well and urge interested individuals and parties to book today for the coming months.”

Each whiskey tour will last approximately one hour with prices ranging from £18 to £27. Ten guests at a time will undertake each tour with a specialist guide. 

Among the tours are The Classic Whiskey Tour (£18) which will conclude with a duo of whiskey tastings while the Premium Whiskey Tour (£27) will incorporate a tasting of four Hinch whiskeys. 

Gin Tours last 1.5 hours and cost £45 including a 50cl bottle of a personally blended gin to take home. Additional bottles can also be ordered for gifting. For further information, visit hinchdistillery.com.

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