The Hinch distillery is located just south of Belfast in the grounds of the beautiful Killaney Estate, County Down. The distillery takes its name from the nearby town of Ballynahinch and was established in 2020 by Irish entrepreneur Dr Terry Cross, at a cost of somewhere around £15 million.

The distillery consists of, 3 copper whiskey stills - 12,500ltr Wash, 5,500lltr Intermediary and a 2,500ltr Spirit, they also installed a 1000ltr Copper Gin still and like many other new distilleries it was a gin, called Ninth Wave, that they first released in late 2020. With regards to whiskey, they have begun producing a Single Malt Triple distilled, Single Pot Still and Peated Single Malt. Capacity at start up is around 450,000 litres per annum, but there are plans to increase that over time.

Approximately £5 million was spent on acquiring aged stocks of both malt and grain whiskey, which has allowed them to hit the ground running with regards to creating a range, whilst waiting for their own spirit to mature. This range has been called the ‘Time Collection’ and the main focus is on blended Irish whiskey - a No Age Statement bottling comprising 3 to 4 year old spirits, a 5 year old Double Wood (4 years in ex-Bourbon/ 1 year in Virgin American oak), and a 10 year old Shery Finish (comprised of 10 year old and a small amount of 17 year old Bourbon aged malt, plus 10-11 year old single grain which receives 6 months finishing in 40 year old Oloroso sherry casks from Bodega Garvey).

They have also lent a number of ex-Bourbon casks to various top Irish craft breweries in which they have finished some great beers. The plan is then to release 2 or 3 limited edition beer finished whiskies per year. So far, I have only tasted one, a blended Irish Whiskey finished for a minimum of 12 months in ex-Imperial Stout casks from Whitewater Brewery in County Down, which was very impressive and showed a lovely balance between the spirit and the cask.

So, although it will be a few years before they begin releasing their own distilled spirit, what they are releasing at the moment is exceptional good and if they carry on in this innovative manner, they will definitely be a distillery to follow.
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