The Connacht Distillery has announced the appointment of Ryan Friesen as its new head distiller.
Friesen will collaborate closely with master distiller Robert Cassell, and will be responsible for the production process from brewing to distillation.
Friesen will also lead future innovation across spirits categories, with a focus on whiskey, at the Ballina, Co. Mayo, based distillery, the portfolio of brands of which includes Conncullin Irish Gin, Straw Boys Irish Vodka and Connacht Single Malt Batch 1 Irish Whiskey.
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Friesen is a native of Indiana, and has moved to Co. Mayo from California where he was the founding distiller of Blinking Owl distillery. There, he created and released a number of spirits including two bourbons, a rye whiskey, and other aged and unaged products.
Friesen was also the vice-president of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild, which advocates for craft distillers in the state and creates legislation for the industry.
Statement By Friesen
Friesen stated, "I'm thrilled to be joining the team at Connacht Distillery and to have the opportunity to develop my craft. When you want to learn from the best, you need to go to the best, which is why I chose to leave California and move to Ballina. With the country's craft spirits movement in full swing, there's never been a better time to be a distiller in Ireland. I'm very excited for what's in store at Connacht Distillery."
Statement By Commercial Director At Connacht Distillery
Commercial director at Connacht Distillery Killian O'Sullivan stated, "I am delighted to welcome Ryan as our new head distiller. Coming to Ballina with his international experience and exceptional skillset, we have no doubt that Ryan will play a big role in the exciting new chapters at Connacht Distillery as we continue to grow and expand into new markets and develop exciting new whiskies."
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