EAGERLY awaited plans for a whiskey distillery and visitor centre in Kilmacthomas remain on track. Natterjack, a new Irish whiskey which is a unique blend, triple distilled and crafted using both Irish and American techniques, is being created by Gortinore Distillers & Co. and is set to be launched shortly.Gortinore, which is led by Irish entrepreneur Aidan Mehigan, purchased The Old Mill in Kilmacthomas in 2016. At the time, Mr Mehigan outlined ambitious plans for the prominent site.However, local Councillors have continuously sought updates at meetings of Waterford City & County Council – with some expressing fears that the plans may not materialise. It was announced this week that distribution agreements for Natterjack are already in place in the domestic market, along with the US, China, UK and Europe.
Once complete, the Kilmacthomas distillery will house three traditional copper pot stills and ageing whiskey casks and will employ up to 15 people. The company also plans to create a visitor centre at The Old Mill which was established in the mid-1800s and operated as a woollen mill until the early 1920s.In the 1930s, the Flahavan family purchased the building to use as a grain store.
The entire building was virtually gutted in a fire in 1947. The building originally had a slate roof but was then rebuilt with reinforced concrete. This rebuilding work was carried out around 1950 and the building continued to be used by Flahavan’s until 1999.
The Old Mill was then purchased by Waterford County Council who had ambitious plans for the site during the Noughties.
A public car park was constructed alongside The Old Mill, however plans involving the actual building never materialised.
Kilmacthomas Community Meitheal Ltd. has been working for a number of years at establishing a suitable enterprise at the site of The Old Mill.
Mr Mehigan paid tribute to the work of the group and said he has been working closely with its members.“We have been working very closely with Kilmacthomas Community Meitheal Ltd. to ensure the integrity and heritage of The Mill is prioritised and maintained throughout this process,” he said. It’s hoped that the refurbishment of The Old Mill and the development of a visitor centre will generate increased economic activity in Kilmacthomas and Mid County Waterford and complement the success of the Waterford Greenway.