Dr Ulrich Dyer, of The Woodlab Distillery
BUSHMILLS is famous for its whiskey and now the Moy could be equally as famous for its gin thanks to plans for a new distillery in the village.
Woodlab Distillery, the maker of the multi-award winning Symphonia Gin range, is developing a new distillery complex in the Moy.
The company, formed in 2016 by Dr Ulrich Dyer, who has over 30 years’ experience as a scientist in the global pharmaceutical industry, has moved to the new distillery after outgrowing a converted garage at his home in Benburb.
Around £120,000 is being invested by Dr Dyer in the development of the distillery, warehousing, a gin school and visitor centre. The investment has already created three new jobs which have been supported by Invest Northern Ireland and more jobs are promised.
Outlining this important investment for the small batch distillery, Dr Dyer told the Courier: “We decided to develop a new distillery because we had outgrown our existing premises in Benburb and needed the new space to enable us to increase distilling and storage capacity in response to the growing success of our three gins, especially in the Northern Ireland marketplace.
“The new distillery gives us greater scope to develop our science-led development of spirits using our unique process which is based on cold distillation and microwave extraction technology. These techniques help to ensure that the rich yet delicate flavours of the local botanicals we use in gin production are extracted efficiently and preserved in our spirits,” Dr Dyer adds.
This modern technology, he continues, has been proven to be the most efficient in terms of energy use. “It’s the most environmentally friendly process because only two percent of the energy required for traditional distilling is used in these processes.
“I believe that Woodlab is the only distillery in the world using these combined techniques. The technology is based on my scientific research in the international pharmaceutical industry on product development,” adds Dr Dyer.
Welcoming the investment, Ethna McNamee, Invest NI’s Western Regional Manager said: “We have been working in partnership with the team at Woodlab Distillery over the last number of years to support the growth of its business.
“This has included initial support through our innovation voucher programme to help refine the distilling process of its now infamous Symphonia Gin range, support to create three jobs and technical advice and marketing assistance through our Design Active Programme to help it develop its website. I’m delighted to see this support helping Woodlab open its distillery and begin to grow sales in international markets.”
Dr Dyer continues: “The support from Invest NI is invaluable and has enabled us to get the new distillery operating quickly and to develop sales especially in Great Britain by means of our website. We are working with Invest NI to grow the business in our target markets, building in particular on our success of our Symphonia Dry Gin being named Champion of Champions in the Irish Gin Awards 2019.”
The small batch distillery currently produces three handcrafted gins both featuring botanicals from the area. The gins are Symphonia No.1, a dry gin, and Symphonia No. 2, a gin featuring Armagh Bramley apples sourced from local orchards, and Symphonia No 3, a Summer Fruit Cup. They have just released a special limited edition Symphonia No.4 a local apple rum.
The gins which has also won UK Great Taste Awards and Silver at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC), are currently available in local off-licences as well as bars, restaurants and hotels.