First whiskey to be distilled in Gaway for over 100 years

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Galway is set to have its first local whiskey in over 100 years after Micil Distillery announced this week that it has begun distilling the spirit.

While the whiskey matures for the legal minimum of three years, Micil plans to release two independently-bottled Irish whiskeys this summer.

Not only is the distillery producing the new whiskey, it is also creating new jobs within its Galway team despite the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic.

Celebrating the rebirth of whiskey distilling in Galway, Pádraic explained that he founded Micil Distillery in 2016 in honour of his great-great-great grandfather Micil, with the dream of being the first in his family to distil legally.

“The success of Micil Irish Poitín, Micil Heritage Peated Poitín, and the multi-award-winning Micil Irish Gin has enabled us to move into the next phase of our growth plan and begin laying down Irish whiskey,” said Pádraic.

“In January 2021 we filled our first casks with the new make spirit which will be Galway’s first Irish whiskey in over a century.

“Our family has over 170 years of craft distillation knowhow, the longest continuous family distillation heritage in Ireland, and it brings us tremendous pride to be building on this legacy by bringing Irish whiskey back to Galway.”

Micil’s production capacity is one the smallest of any whiskey distillery in Ireland. With their small single copper pot still, they can only produce a maximum of one standard 200 litre cask per week.

To put that into context, around 30 casks per week are produced by some of the better known ‘small’ Irish distilleries, and thousands of casks a week produced by the likes of Jameson and Bushmills.

But while the production methods are painstakingly slow and everything is done by hand, Micil’s focus is purely on distilling spirits of exceptional flavour and quality.

“Our first runs have been peated single malts, using 100% Irish barley, malted using Connemara turf from our family farm in Inverin,” added Pádraic.

“But as we ramp up production we plan to continue to innovate, bringing the creativity and resourcefulness of the Connemara poitín distiller to the whiskey category.

“Our whiskeys will draw heavily on our 170 years of distilling knowledge, our historic mash bills (recipes), and our Connemara terroir & provenance.”

Head distiller Jimín said that it was important that they were distilling their own Irish whiskey in Galway before releasing a product that they hadn’t distilled themselves.

“Three years is a long wait, and in the meantime we wanted to give people a small taste of what’s to come,” said Jimín.

“The important thing is to be transparent about things like this, and that’s where we’ve seen other spirits companies fall short. It means a lot to us, we’re first and foremost distillers after all. It’s in our DNA”.

As Micil’s portfolio grows so too does the business, and Micil is creating new employment opportunities.

“We’re delighted to be at a stage where we can expand our team and create new jobs, especially when there’s been so much bad news for people over the last year or so,” said Pádraic.

“To date it’s been a core of just myself, my brother Jimín and my co-founder Ross, and it’s been hard going for us at times with lots of long days and sleepless nights, in an industry dominated by huge multinationals with limitless funds.

“But we recently hired Mark McLaughlin, one of Irish whiskey’s leading brand specialists, and are currently in the process of recruiting a global sales manager for the business as well.

“These new additions to our team will provide valuable skills & experience as we grow, and further our ability to achieve our goals.”