At the top of the hill sits the Echlinville Manor House, a plush white mansion purchased by Shane Braniff in 2007 with the intention to build Northern Ireland’s first new distillery in 125 years around it. As we make our way up the drive you can see a bustle of activity. It’s the week before the grand opening of the brand new visitor experience and there’s plenty of work to be done with coffee shops and tasting rooms being erected inside shipping containers.
The centerpiece for the whole operation is a vast modern still house visible to the outside world through giant clear glass walls that run floor to ceiling. Inside sits the hybrid still set up showcasing a wash still and spirit still attached to a double column still that gets used depending on what’s being produced that day. In the back is another, smaller hybrid still used to make gin, complete with pot, column and infusion box. The mezzanine level of the main still room is filled with tables and chairs so, if you wanted to, you could attend a formal dinner sat right in front these beautiful brass marvels.
Echlinville produce a veritable array of spirits with several gin and vodka labels as well as a rather tasty poitin that’s well worth your time should you get the chance to sample. The distillery’s main focus however is whiskey with the highly regarded Dunville’s range taking precedence while the hugely anticipated Echlinville Whiskey Inaugural Batch waits patiently before release later on in 2023.
In fact, in a major achievement for the distillery, the Dunville’s 21 year old Palo Cortado Cask 1197 took home the prestigious title of “Best Whiskey” at the Irish Whiskey Awards held in November 2022.