CAPE Clear’s distillery has taken a step nearer production after a long-term lease has been acquired on an island building.
It’s now hoped that the distillery will be producing gin by next summer, and will progress quickly to whiskey, as behind-the-scenes work continues to deliver the ambitious project.
Planning has already been acquired for three buildings on an adjacent site: a visitor centre, a distillery and a cask store.
Seamus Ó Drisceoil, manager of the distillery, said they were advancing on a ‘step-by-step’ basis with local investment of around €200,000 so far, and further investment being sought.
‘This new building, the former hatchery, is in good condition and is ideal for a lot of the functions we’ll need. We’ve already also acquired the best water supply on the island and have laid the pipework and need only get it connected. It will give us a supply 10 times greater than what we need when we’re in full production at the distillery,’ he said.
The project was first announced in 2015 and Seamus said they were ‘determined to succeed.’
‘We think it’s very suitable for the island. We do very well in tourism with 25,000 visitors annually but we need an activity that is compatible with that and which will continue throughout the year and will create paid employment. We’ve also had substantial investment in our fast ferry from Schull and combined, it shows that we see a future for the island.’
Initially he said around three to four jobs would be created which would build to around 12 to 15 when production would expand to include whiskey.
‘We see ourselves as part of West Cork and what we can achieve here will have a positive knock-on effect on the area,’ he added.