Cape Clear has launched a crowdfunding campaign in its bid to establish Ireland’s first ever offshore distillery.
Séamus Ó Drisceoil, one of the promoters of the project, confirmed that the decision was made after ‘a long, arduous and expensive planning process saw the main investor pull out in frustration.’
He said the reason for the planning delay was water – despite the fact that Irish Water had spent mil-lions in 2018 upgrading the island’s supply network.
Séamus estimated that the current water supply is ‘100 times what is needed for the initial distillery,’ and he said the nearest connection point is just 500m away.
Now, both he and co-promoter Mairtín Ó Méalóid, confirmed they need to raise €20,000 to proceed to the next phase of development.
The sum of €29,000 in support has been confirmed by Údaras na Gaeltachta and an additional €20,000 has been pledged locally.
Because climatic conditions are known to influence the whiskey maturation process, Séamus said the proposed four-acre site offered ‘a unique micro climate that could produce an outstanding Irish whiskey under the Dún an Óir brand,’ which has already been registered as the company’s trademark.
The site already contains a market gardening operation that supplies salads to some of West Cork’s premier restaurants including the award-winning Mews in Baltimore, The Celtic Ross, the Riverside Café and Seán Rua’s Restaurant. ‘While some of the botanicals will certainly be collected from the abundant wild plants on the island,’ Séamus said, ‘there will also be experimentation with other exotic plants and flavours that can be grown on-site.’
The promoter pointed out that Cape Clear was recently chosen to take part in a prestigious EU Clean Energy Project and that the distillery had the potential to become Ireland’s greenest distillery. According to Séamus, everything is being done to minimise the carbon footprint of this distillery.
‘There are proposals for a hybrid water heating system that will use solar thermal boosted by night rate and later PV systems, and on-site malting will further reduce the carbon footprint.’
They believe the island distillery could become ‘an outstanding tourist experience.’