- An eco-distillery powered by renewable energy with new innovative technology
- Driving its focus to the lucrative Asian market
- 20 new direct jobs announced at the distillery
- Up to a further 70 indirect jobs created when the distillery is fully operational
- 30 plus construction jobs in the restoration of the old mill
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, and Minister of State Anne Rabbitte TD, attended the launch and jointly laid the restoration stone to mark the commencement of this major and innovative project. Works are completed on The Old Mill Shop & Café, which will commence trading next week.
McAllister Distillery Ahascragh
McAllister Distillers was established in 2018 by husband-and-wife team, Gareth and Michelle McAllister. The couple are turning their passion for craft Irish spirits into a family business in the West of Ireland. The project will see the renovation of the old Ahascragh Mill and the construction of a world class whiskey experience and hospitality destination, positioning Ahascragh on the tourism map of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Irish Whiskey Trail.
The distillery will provide 20 direct jobs within three years. It will also support a further 60-70 indirect jobs through local supply chains. The project will immediately employ some 30 plus people in construction.
East Galway, like other parts of the country, has felt the effects of COVID-19 on the local tourism and hospitality sectors. The restoration and construction of the Old Mill will give a short-term jobs boost to the local economy with the creation of full-time sustainable jobs in the long-term.
Ahascragh Mill dates back to the early 1800’s, and up until the 1950’s processed grain into flour. Located in the heart of the small East Galway village, the mill complex has remained derelict for the past 70 years. Now, the McAllisters are giving the building a new lease of life. Designed by Gareth Roberts of Organic Architects, the distillery will be an eco-distillery, powered by renewable energy, with a drive to be carbon neutral. The visitor centre will be a unique and intimate experience, showcasing the history of the old mill, with a permanent exhibition of the salvaged mill equipment and the refurbishment of the mill race.
Speaking at the launch, Founder Gareth McAllister said: “We are honoured that Ministers McConalogue and Rabbitte laid the restoration stone of this exciting new project. Irish Whiskey has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years driven by double digit growth in exports. It is now the fastest growing premium spirits category in the world, with a growth of 140% over the last decade. We are also aware of the whiskey tourism opportunity with over one million visitors to distilleries in 2019. Michelle and I have spent a considerable time working in China and have seen at first hand the boom in demand for new and unique whiskeys and gins.”
Founder, Michelle McAllister said “We knew Ahascragh was the right fit when we first visited the beautiful old corn mill. Located in the heart of this small Galway village and on the doorstep of the Wild Atlantic Way, we couldn’t think of a better place to start this journey. We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors to the distillery and in the meantime getting to know the locals as The Old Mill Shop & Café opens its doors this month.”
Minister McConalogue added: “I warmly welcome the announcement of this new distillery in East Galway and am delighted to support this exciting new venture. Being Minister with responsibility for the food and drink sector, I am heartened such an innovative and pioneering project has come to fruition. Driving a sustainable and balanced regional economic development is a key focus of this Government and the McAllister Distillery is a prime example of the entrepreneurial spirit that is thriving in our food and drink sector. Distilleries like this are needed to meet growing global demand for high quality Irish whiskey, and to meet the targets set out in our food strategies. I am also impressed that the McAllisters bring a wealth of experience and expertise to this business, and their focus on the Asian market will help rebalance our spirit exports. Some 20 years ago there were only 3 distilleries on the island of Ireland, today we have some 42 distilleries.”
Minister Rabbitte concluded: “This is a landmark day for East Galway and Ahascragh. The creation of 30 immediate jobs restoring this wonderful mill will help the local economy to pick up after our long lockdown and the delivery of 20 full time direct jobs is of enormous value to East Galway, in particular to the village of Ahascragh. I am delighted that the company has already employed locally for key positions and that the café and shop will soon be open for business. I wish Michelle and Gareth and all their team the best with this exciting new venture.”