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Northern Irish vodka distiller expands into food tourism

Hughes Craft Distillery in Northern Ireland, producers of RubyBlue Potato Vodka and fruit–infused spirts, has taken over a Co Down bar and restaurant that will soon feature a visitors’ centre and the region’s first ‘gin school’.

The company, owned by husband and wife team Stuart and Barbara Hughes, is investing £200,000 to transform the former Four Trees premises in Moira, county Down into The Stillhouse. It will mean 15 new jobs in addition to the 21 already employed in the bar and restaurant.

Supported by Ulster Bank, the takeover will see the couple transfer their business to the site and create a visitor centre and ‘gin school’ to allow customers to make and bottle their own miniature RubyBlue products, including its potato vodka, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The distillery will relocate from Lisburn to the coach house stone building at the back of the premises in January.

Mrs Hughes says: “Having outgrown our current premises, we wanted to find a setting to really showcase our craft. Moira was an obvious choice, for both its picturesque setting and ideal location for distribution links.”

She said recent interest from cruise lines for distillery tours prompted the company to diversify into tourism.

Moira is one of the UK’s biggest food destinations and this venue allows us to offer the typical Irish pub experience, from local food to drink. It also has an off–licence on site, which means we can sell RubyBlue,” she adds.

With the creation of our visitor centre, gin school and gastropub we’re creating a true food tourism hotspot to showcase the best local produce complemented with our small batch spirits. We’re very grateful for Ulster Bank’s support, which has enabled us to make the investment.”

The company, an established market leader in award–winning whole berry and Irish grain spirit liqueurs, developed Northern Ireland’s first potato vodka two years’ ago and has won significant business especially in export markets such as the Republic of Ireland including Dublin International Airport. The distillery also sells in fruit–infused grain spirit products to Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Turkey and Australia. 

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Business Development Executive, ROI

Jen Guiney
Business Development Executive, ROI

Tel: +44 (0) 28 3839 0142

Mobile: +44 (0)79 8511 1024

E-Mail: jen.guiney@investni.com

 

Nigel Hardy
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8143

Mobile: +44 (0) 79 6808 6252

E-Mail: nigel.hardy@investni.com

Middle East & Asia

Karl Devlin
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8225

Mobile: +44 (0) 77 6739 3316

E-Mail: karl.devlin@investni.com

RoI & GB Foodservice

Drew McIvor
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0) 78 1354 4535

E-Mail: drew.mcivor@investni.com

Great Britain

Michelle Charrington
Head of Business Development

Tel: +44 (0)78 1717 3514

Mobile: +44 (0) 78 1717 3514

E-Mail: michelle.charrington@investni.com

Content Manager

Shauna Magill
Editor & Content Manager / Twitter @lovenifood

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9069 8764

Mobile: +44 (0) 78 2516 9125

E-Mail: shauna.magill@investni.com

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