A Derry firm hoping to set up the city’s first whiskey distillery for almost a century at Campsie said the project is dependent on getting planning approval to turn its existing building on Rossdowney Road into a supermarket.
Representatives from Niche Drinks, which currently produces St Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur at its Rossdowney Road plant, made a presentation to Derry City Council about its plans to transform the site to house a supermarket and business incubation units, and plans to build a new distillery in Campsie.
Ciaran Mulgrew, managing director, said the supermarket project could create up to 350 full and part time jobs while the new distillery would also create employment and generate an additional £15m for the local economy.
Mr Mulgrew said the company, which currently employs 62 people on a permanent basis, wants to expand its operations to produce Derry’s first locally made whiskey for almost 100 years.
“We are hoping to reestablish local indigenous whiskey manufacturing,” he said. “We regard it as good news for Derry.”
He also said the development would help local farmers as the company currently uses 25 per cent of all milk produced in the north west for its liqueur and would also require grain for whiskey.
The managing director also said the proposed supermarket development at Rossdowney Road could help regenerate the Waterside area. “We believe an opportunity exists to create a Waterside quarter. We believe with its proximity to the Peace Bridge, the development would be a catalyst for reinvigorating the area,” he said.
SDLP councillor Martin Reilly welcomed the proposals. “This is an exciting proposal and I am looking forward to the minister reaching a decision as soon as possible,” he said.
DUP alderman Maurice Devenney said; “It is good to see that the business have outgrown its current site and it is good news that we could soon be producing our own whiskey here in the city of Londonderry.”
Sinn Féin colr. Lynn Fleming also praised the proposal. “This is certainly exciting. For the first time in 100 years we will have our own whiskey distillery and I think that is something to be welcomed,” she said.