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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Shauna Corr

Ireland's first eco-distillery opens its doors

Ireland's first fossil fuel free distillery has opened its doors.

Ahascragh Distillery in Ballinasloe, Co Galway produces whiskey and award-winning Xin Gin using renewable energy following a €10m investment.

The state-of-the-art distillery was built in a restored nineteenth century mill and was officially launched on Saturday by Ann Rabitte, Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Read more: Irish MEP's warning after EU Parliament committee split on Nature Restoration

The facility, which is opened to visitors on Monday, uses wind and solar power to create its drinks.

But the team behind it is also installing hydro, using very high temperature heat pump technology and an energy efficient storage system, in their bid to become zero-emissions.

As no fossil fuels or gas will be used to drive production, there will be no carbon emissions from the energy supply side of the distillery which Ahascragh Distillery say is a first for the industry. As a result, the spirits flowing from their vats can be classified as zero emissions, minimising its impact on the environment.

Ahascragh Distillery founder, Gareth McAllister, said: "The opening of Ahascragh Distillery as Ireland’s first energised zero-emissions distillery, marks a step forward for the whiskey industry and a commitment to a greener future.

"The distillery will attract whiskey and gin enthusiasts but people will also be very interested in our zero-emissions technology. This is new and innovative technology for the industry and really sets Ahascragh Distillery apart."

Co-founder, Michelle McAllister, added: "Over the past two years, we have watched the building come back to life. We have restored the stonework, salvaged the mill equipment and protected the building's charm.

"It has been a labour of love, not only for Gareth and I, but for our entire team and the community. The visitor experience will celebrate the history and future of the building. We are excited to showcase the distillery, the village and our award-winning whiskeys and gin to the world!"

With an overall investment of €10 million, supported by a €500,000 grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the project created 20 jobs in and around the rural village of Ahascragh while supporting a further 60-70 indirect jobs through local supply chains.

The new distillery was built with support from FDT Consulting Engineers and Project Managers Ltd and decarbonisation specialist Astatine. Key features include:

  • Unlike other distilleries in Ireland, the heat delivered to the distillery will not require the combustion of any fossil fuels, and will utilise green electricity
  • Heat will be provided to the distillery through heat pumps which means that there will be no flue related emissions, or impacts on the local environment
  • The heat pump design, heat recovery and thermal storage means that the energy inputs to the distillery are a third than that of traditional technology
  • The building itself has been protected with much of the original machinery and wooden beams being restored and reused.

Visitors can tour the distillery to learn how the founders coupled age-old tradition with modern innovation to make Clan Colla Irish Whiskey, UAIS Irish Whiskey and on-site distilled Xin Gin.

Age-old tradition and modern innovation are used to make Clan Colla Irish Whiskey, UAIS Irish Whiskey and on-site distilled Xin Gin (Aengus McMahon)

Ahascragh Distillery has also launched a Seedrs fundraising campaign which allows the public to own shares in the eco-distillery from as little as €12.50. Following a successful crowd-funder in 2021 which saw the company raise €1.7 million, Ahascragh Distillery is inviting more people to join their journey and help them realise their vision for a world class Visitor Events Centre.

The Seedrs campaign has already welcomed 88 investors, raising 88% of the target. The public can now invest for a limited time, with shares starting at €125, and part shares from €12.50.

Gareth added: "We want to continue to grow this family and we are going a step further, offering the wider community the opportunity to own shares in Ireland’s first fully energised zero-emissions distillery and be a part of our journey to making whiskey history."

Ahascragh Distillery officially opens its doors to the public on Monday, July 3 with tours from €15. See to book. Email or call 0909 688935 for private tours and corporate events.

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