Distillery rekindles passion for ancient art in the heart of Galway – Connacht Tribune – Galway City Tribune:
A new craft experience has arrived in the heart of Galway, inspired by its history as a center of fine whiskey over two centuries ago.
The Galway City Distillery invites customers to learn how to brew their own spirits to take home and create their own signature drinks by adding all kinds of local botanicals.
Based in Tribeton’s former art deco building on Merchants Road, there will be a bar, cafe, brewing school as well as a brewery where customers can see their favorite drink being created from scratch from scratch. a shiny new 150 liter German hybrid still.
The brainchild of Dubliner Jim Flynn, he felt there was a big void in the market for a distillery in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way where high quality food has become a real selling point.
“If you google the best things to do in Galway, the top eight are all outdoors, but it rains 221 days a year. There is a fantastic museum, the food offer is excellent with the Michelin starred restaurants all of which excel at offering local food, from local suppliers. I felt like no one did this with drink,” Jim reveals.
“I worked with small independent artisanal producers. And then I learned the story of Burton Persse and how his whiskey was the whiskey of choice in the British House of Commons and at Harrods and all from his distillery in the heart of the city.
Sitting in a dusty room as builders rush about a week before opening, he points out all the features that will make it a uniquely Galway experience.
In one room are the pot stills – or mini stills – where students will distill their own blend of superheated spirits, with flavors and tinctures added to suit their personal tastes. Classes costing €100 will last up to three hours while the intricacies of brewing are explored. This includes drinks, food and a personal recipe bottle.
“It’s all about taste and flavor. We encourage people to try new things using sensory analysis, ie how to layer flavors on something you would like to drink.
On the day the Galway City Tribune visited, it was the first time British master distiller Jamie Baxter had distilled gin on Merchants Road. For this batch, he placed ethanol, juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orange peel, and licorice inside. After boiling, it turns into a rising vapor. An oil is created that carries the flavor. This is then passed through a condenser to create 85% alcohol, which in turn is diluted to bring it to a normal strength spirit.
In another part of the ground floor, there will be a cafe serving blended coffee from Oughterard and pastries baked from The Twelve in Barna.
At the bar, customers will be encouraged to taste cocktails that change with the seasons according to the lunar calendar. Non-alcoholic cocktails will also be on the menu.
Claire Davey will be involved in the creation of these concoctions, whose America Village Apothecary tasting room on Dominick Street offered iconic drinks such as The Gather Forth with white port, tonic and rosemary and The Communion with vermouth at the smoked spruce.
Before it closed during the shutdowns, the McKenna Guide described it: “People, we’re a long way from plain pint here. We’re in deep space, as far as drinks go, we’re off with the aliens, and it’s exhilarating. Don’t miss it: there’s nowhere even remotely like this.”
Locally produced beers such as Galway Hooker and Pale Ale Galway will be on sale, rather than pints from the big brands. It’s a throwback to Jim’s decade-long involvement with the Porterhouse in Dublin, one of Ireland’s premier craft brewers and distillers. He has also worked with bars and breweries in the UK as a project manager.
“I got involved here with investors who want to stay back. They knew I had a hospitality background and they were looking to get involved in a really exciting project like Midleton in Cork and Jameson in Dublin and the best location for that is in a tourist hotspot.
Their company, the Galway Spirits Company, purchased the building from developer Gerry Barrett. There are plans to celebrate the history of Persse’s Whiskey on the top floor, which is due to open this summer.
This whiskey returned to the headlines when one of the last remaining bottles of ‘uisce beatha’ was sold to an Irish collector for over €100,000 at an auction in Glasgow.
The Île-des-Soeurs distillery thrived for over 60 years, producing 10,000 gallons a week and employing over 100 people at the height of its success before closing in 1908.
Classes and tables can be booked online at GalwayCityDistillery.ie