Newtownabbey distillers scoop gold award

Ian Perry.
Ian Perry.

A Newtownabbey-based distillery has won a gold award at the Irish Gin Awards.

Belfast Artisan Distillery won the gold award in the Gin Newcomer of the Year category at this year’s Irish Gin Awards.

The awards took place at Clontarf Castle in Dublin, with Belfast Artisan Gin being announced as the winning product on October 1.

Speaking to the Times, master distiller Ian Perry, said: “We’ve just taken off in recent months. I’d been at Bombardier for over 30 years before taking redundancy.

“I’d been at a gin tasting event a few years ago and there weren’t really any local gins on show. I thought it was a shame that I couldn’t have an authentic Belfast gin.

“A couple of friends had talked about setting up the distillery and after getting a handmade still, we experimented and found a taste we liked.”

Ian, who had performed as a DJ in pubs and clubs across Northern Ireland for 25 years, added: “Once we had our gin, very much a Belfast product, I went round bars earlier this year to see if there was any interest in selling it.

“I went to Muriel’s in Belfast. I’d say it’s one of the best gin bars in town. They already had so many gins on offer. They asked what made mine different. Once they’d tasted it, they took a case.

“We were up against around 40 gins and for a distillery of just three people, it shows we’re doing something right and we couldn’t be happier.

“I’d like to thank consultant Jamie Baxter for his help and advice. I’d also like to thank our stockists and everyone who has enjoyed our gin to date.”

For more information about the Mallusk-based company, check out the Belfast Artisan Distillery Facebook page.