Disappointment as distillery plans for Sliabh Liag pulled

It’s emerged that a proposed whiskey distillery at Sliabh Liag is not to proceed and is to relocate in Ardara.

James and Moira Doherty had planned to build the distillery outside Carrick with An Bord Pleanala giving the green light for the project early last year with a job projection of 40.

However, it’s understood that a number of obstacles has resulted in the project being pulled.

Local Cllr Niamh Kennedy says the community are hugely disappointed but it’s hoped that the current nine jobs at the company’s gin distillery in Carrick can be retained.

The statement in full:

The directors of Sliabh Liag Distillery have announced plans to relocate the proposed site for the new distillery to Ardara. The decision comes amid ongoing issues with the existing site in Carrick, which have delayed construction of the new distillery; this is in spite of the fact that full planning permission was granted in 2017 on a 20-acre site known locally as the Bull Field. The business already has its gin distillery in Carrick, which will continue to operate in the town for the foreseeable future.

Commenting on the move, James Doherty, Director of Sliabh Liag Distillery said: “Delays with the existing site in Carrick have meant that we’ve had to look elsewhere to fulfil our dream of building Donegal’s first whiskey distillery in almost 180 years. We understand the disappointment of the people of Carrick, we feel it too – particularly those who have supported our efforts and championed us every step of the way. However, this delay has cast a shadow over plans for the business for too long, and while we have been very patient, we simply cannot wait any longer”.

“A passion to reclaim the distilling heritage of Donegal remains at the core of what drives Sliabh Liag Distillery; our inspiration for An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey comes from a belief in the richness of the culture of the Donegal Gaeltacht. However, to ensure the continued growth of the business we can’t let a local dispute delay us any longer.” James added: “We are just completing a successful new share issue and we’re now exporting our brands across four continents; this proposed new site in Ardara will help us build on the momentum that has already seen us grow the business internationally.”

Stephen McCahill of Ardara believes the proposed relocation of the new distillery will provide a great boost to the town: “Sliabh Liag Distillery is such a unique Donegal and Irish success story and the community of Ardara is delighted to be part of it. We recognise the hard work of James and Moira Doherty and their team, as well as their commitment to Donegal. Sliabh Liag Distillery’s spirits’ brands are now in high demand across venues all over the world and they deserve huge credit for what they’ve managed to achieve in just a few short years. It’s a great opportunity for the local community in terms of employment, trade and tourism and we look forward to playing our part in the next chapter of the distillery’s success.” 

As well as Ireland, Sliabh Liag Distillery is now working with distributors across international markets from South Africa to Estonia, Germany, United Kingdom, Dubai, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. Advanced discussions are also underway for distribution in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Silkie Irish Whiskey and An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin were both awarded Double Gold Medals in the China Wine and Spirits Awards, while Silkie was awarded a Gold Medal at The Spirits Business Irish Whiskey Masters Competition.