Economy Minister Diane Dodds has officially opened the new Hinch Distillery and visitor centre located just outside Ballynahinch.
The £15 million investment in the new 30,000sq ft distillery and local tourist attraction will lead to the creation of 42 new jobs
Mrs Dodds said: “Since establishing in 2016, Hinch Distillery has experienced impressive growth.
“Through sheer hard work and determination, it has moved from idea stage to develop a range of products and grown to export its products to over 25 countries around the world.”
The creation of 42 new jobs as a result of this investment with Invest NI support will contribute an additional £1.3 million in additional annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy.
“The visitor centre is an impressive new tourist attraction where visitors can learn about the distillation process used to produce the company’s products.
“Northern Ireland is known globally for our great hospitality along with the pure natural quality of our produce.
“Investments like these will help us sow the seeds of recovery and rebuild our economy following the impact of the pandemic.
“The hospitality and tourism industry has been especially impacted so I am delighted to be here today to be able to celebrate this investment, and I want to congratulate Terry and his team and wish them every success,” Mrs Dodds added.
Hinch Distillery owner Dr Terry Cross, OBE, said: “The opening marks a very proud moment for myself and the team who have finally realised a blueprint that is set to make its mark on the Northern Ireland tourism map and the global drinks industry.
“We would like to thank Invest Northern Ireland for its support and guidance so far.
“Its financial support and marketing assistance has been instrumental in our success to date. Our Hinch range of Irish whiskies and Ninth Wave Irish Gin brand are already leaving an imprint on the international drinks market.
“In just one year since launch, we’ve secured distribution deals in more than 25 countries, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France and Germany, while many more partnerships with renowned drinks distributors elsewhere are in the pipeline.
“And, despite being relative newcomers to the market, we are making waves at revered awards events globally, including a Double Gold and ‘Gin of the Year’ trophy for our Ninth Wave Irish Gin at the China Wine and Spirit Awards (CWSA).