Blackwater Distillery in County Waterford creates an iconic product
There hadn’t been a distillery in Waterford for close to 175 years and Peter Mulryan and his team created an iconic product - in a stunning location - that was about to explode in popularity across the world as the beverage "to be seen with".
Peter, whose father was a chemist in Kiely's brewery in Waterford and uncle was the master brewer with Anheuser-Busch Brewery in the United States, took a rather unorthodox route in to the industry himself.
“My background was in TV production where I made a lot of food and drink shows for BBC and RTÉ with the likes of Richard Corrigan, Trish Deseine and James Martin,” Peter explained.
“I had a huge interest in food and drink, which obviously intensified working with those people, and I was also writing books on the subject.”
Peter’s has written six books, including Whiskeys of Ireland and a history of Bushmills Whiskey, born out of a desire to instil some pride into Irish whiskey. They have proven to be a springboard for his own induction into distilling, and with the birth of Blackwater Distillery, continued Peter’s evolution in the food and drinks industry.
“Blackwater started around five years ago at a time when I could see the craft drinks industry beginning to make some noise. Gin hadn’t yet exploded in the way that it subsequently did and looking back now it was the perfect time to get into the industry.”
Blackwater Distillery are the only people in Waterford distilling gin and they have shelves loads of awards testifying to their proficiency at it. Their gins - which so far include No. 5, the original, Juniper Cask Gin, Wexford Strawberry Gin, Boyle’s Gin and Barry’s Tea Gin - have taken the drinks industry by storm.
“We’re incredibly lucky to be distilling gin where we are. We saw it as an opportunity to be there when the Waterford food story began. I mean, West Waterford in particular is churning out some amazing food producers and right now seems to be where West Cork was 30 years ago. It’s a very exciting time to be producing gin in Waterford. In fact, now is the time to improve the infrastructure in the region because it’s bursting at the seams at the moment, desperate to share its produce with the world.”
What does Food the Waterford Way mean to you?
“I think there are a lot of amazing producers in Waterford and when you start to hit critical mass, which we are at the moment, it’s a great idea to brand what we do here. With more and more people coming to the Greenway and the Copper Coast, it gives us a real chance to stand out from the crowd. Personally, in 2019, I can’t wait to be able to showcase some of those other great producers in our new distillery.”
What motivates you?
“I have a lot of people depending on me for salaries,” Peter said laughing. “I love what we’re doing and how it fits into the great food renaissance that’s taking place in Waterford right now.”
What’s next for Blackwater Distillery
“We’re about to open a new distillery in Ballyduff, where we’ll commence our whiskey production and then open to the public in 2019. We’ve put a team together and we’re delighted to be expanding as we are. The new distillery should bring tourists to the area, which should bring bed nights and business for other local producers. We hope to be part of a knock-on effect that will give a huge boost to the whole area.”
Visit Food the Waterford Way for more information.