New €8m distillery and visitor centre to create 15 full and 20 part-time jobs

November 30th, 2018 12:12 PM

By Brian Moore

Michael Scully at one of the stills in the new Clonakilty distillery (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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Clonakilty's newest landmark – a distillery and visitor centre – is set to open its doors for the first time next Saturday.

CLONAKILTY’S newest landmark – a distillery and visitor centre – is set to open its doors for the first time next Saturday.

Michael Scully, founder of Clonakilty Distillery, told The Southern Star that he is delighted to be setting up his new company’s headquarters in his home town and creating over 30 new jobs for West Cork.

‘We will have 15 permanent and 20 part-time local people working with us at the new facility in Clonakilty,’ Michael said. ‘The team at Clonakilty Distillery can’t wait to welcome locals and tourists alike to The Waterfront and to a development that can only add to the existing attractions of the town.’  

As well as the distillery in Clonakilty, the maturing warehouse is now up and running at Dunowen Farm by Galley Head, where the Scully family have farmed for eight  generations. This is the only Irish distillery with a maturing warehouse on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. 

‘It will be interesting to see what effect the clean sea spray laden air will have on our whiskey over time,’ Michael said. After an €8m investment, and many months of construction work, Michael is eager to show visitors the day-to-day running of the distillery where they will produce their Minke Irish Gin and Clonakilty single pot still whiskey.

While the multi-million euro facility has been designed with the visitor in mind, Michael is quick to point out that Clonakilty Distillery is first and foremost a working distillery.

‘This is not solely a tourist attraction – we will have a working distillery here in Clon,’ said Michael. 

From December 15th visitors will be able to participate in a guided tour to see the working distillery in operation, to taste a sample of the products and buy some to take home. 

‘Visitors can take separate gin tours and we also have a gin school where visitors can make their own bespoke gin using small, individual pot stills, Michael said. 

‘It’s sure to be a very popular experience for a good night out.  Finally, the adjoining Whale’s Tail Bistro offers a high-quality menu featuring the best of locally-sourced produce for both daytime and evening dining.’ 

The Whale’s Tail Bistro and retail shop will be ready for visitors on December 8th, while the distillery tours will begin the following week – December 15th. The Bistro will be open for lunch seven days a week and for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, as well as for Sunday lunch.

‘We pride ourselves on using only the very best of local produce from our land and sea,’ Michael said. 

‘Our head chef is Christof Zilliox, who has recently worked at the well-loved Blair’s Cove Restaurant in Durrus.’

The new facility will also highlight the brewing history of Clonakilty and indeed the vibrant smuggling trade that was carried on for many years.

‘A lot of people don’t know about this part of Clon’s history,’ Michael said. ‘We have a cinema where people can get an introduction to our brand and the links we have between Clon, Galley Head and the surrounding area.’

‘With The Waterfront development, we have also been busy with the development and production of our Minke Irish Gin, which we launched onto the market at the beginning of July this year,’ Michael added.  

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us in our first launch, from all of the local shops and bars, to the customers who have given us such positive feedback.’

Visitors can book tours, the gin school and the bistro on the distillery’s website at

‘We are making a huge investment in Clon,’ Michael said. 

‘We believe in Clonakilty and we are getting great feedback for everyone. You couldn’t wish for a better location for a distillery. We have parking for 70 cars and two coach buses and we are looking forward to opening our doors to the people of West Cork and beyond.’   

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