Irish whiskey is set to continue its revival following the news that a new distillery and visitor centre has been given the green light in Sligo.
The distillery, located at the soon-to-be restored Hazelwood House on the shores of Lough Gill outside of Sligo town, is expected to begin production of single malt whiskey within 12 to 18 months.
The Irish Times reports that the owners have been granted permission to transform a former factory in the grounds of the historic estate into a whiskey distillery and visitors’ centre, incorporating a cafe/restaurant and retail centre.
The Irish Whiskey Association states that there are currently 17 distilleries expected to be in production by the end of July and another 17 in various stages of planning, which will bring even more jobs, investment and tourism to Ireland.
It added that the whiskey industry has experienced massive growth over the past decade, with last year's estimated growth to reach €410 million. Whiskey exports are set to be doubled by 2020 and doubled again by 2030 according to the Association. They hope to increase their global market share from 4% to 12% due to demand in export markets.
Miriam Mooney, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, commented: "The Irish whiskey industry continues to bring jobs and investment to towns and cities across Ireland and I welcome the news from Sligo. We will see a significant number of new tourism offerings opening over the coming years and whiskey tourism is set to increase from 600,00 p.a to 800,000 p.a. in the medium term".