County Longford’s first distillery, Lough Ree Distillery in Lanesborough, has launched Ireland’s newest gin, Sling Shot, to the Irish market.

The gin is the first in a line of Lough Ree Distillery spirits that will include whiskey, vodka, liqueurs, poitín, and fruit spirits.

The investment in the new Longford distillery will be in excess of €5 million.

Situated on the banks of Lough Ree at Lanesborough’s historic crossing point on the River Shannon, the new distillery is set to increase local and international tourism to the area, resulting in upwards of 25,000 visitors by 2023. It is anticipated that growth in production and visitors will create in excess of 20 new jobs over the next three years.

Sling Shot gin is inspired by a mix of historical and modern elements of Lough Ree, which comes through in the brand name and gin flavours. Sling Shot marries classic, gin botanicals and a very unique local ingredient along with citrus and fresh Irish mint.

The gin is being distilled in a custom-built distillery while construction of the state-of-the-art Lough Ree Distillery and visitor centre commences in the coming weeks, ahead of its official opening in mid-2019. Dublin-based architects McElroy Associates and local firm Milltown Passive Builds are overseeing construction.

At full production, Lough Ree Distillery will have production capacity for 50,000 cases of premium whiskey and 15,000 cases of gin and other white spirits per annum.

Lough Ree Distillery also has an ‘Ambassador Programme’ that allows a set number of customers to buy exclusive access to the distillery’s whiskey. The Ambassador Programme is invite-only and open to consumers, trade and corporate clients to apply.

According to figures from the Irish Spirits Association, Irish gin sales rose by 44% in 2017 and gin exports trebled to 130,000 cases. The association forecasts that this will increase to 400,000 cases by 2022.

The future looks equally bright for Irish whiskey, Lough Ree Distillery’s other main product, which is the fastest-growing spirits category in the world. Ireland exported 10 million cases of whiskey last year; the Irish Whiskey Association forecasts this to grow to 25 million by 2030.

Lough Ree Distillery is owned by brothers Peter and Michael Clancy and sister Sheila Mullen. With Michael and Peter’s experience in process engineering and business, along with Sheila’s experience working in hospitality and finance, the trio had the tools they needed to become Longford’s first modern distillery. 

Peter Clancy, CEO of Lough Ree Distillery, said “Lough Ree Distillery is the first distillery to open in Longford in 200 years and the launch of Sling Shot gin is a landmark moment for us and the community of Lanesborough. It marks the first chapter of a new story in the Midlands.”

“Over the coming decades, our goal is to produce a range of gin, whiskey, vodka and liqueurs that marry the rich heritage of the local surroundings and local talent in the region with innovation, experimentation and ingenuity. We want to create spirits that are modern, innovative and confident, blending hints of the past with Ireland’s youthful, vibrant flavours.”

For more information, see www.lrd.ie.