The historic Titanic Pumphouse in Belfast is set for a new lease of life as a distillery.
The company, Titanic Distillers, is investing £7.5 million to create a new whiskey distillery and visitor centre close to the famous liner’s birthplace.
It will regenerate the historic pumphouse beside the Thompson dock which Titanic once graced, and also create 41 jobs.
It is planned to open in November, and will include the installation of three large stills on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original pumping engines.
All of the original pump equipment and associated internal features of the building will be retained.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons welcomed the move as he visited the site in the east of the city on Thursday.
“I’m pleased to see Titanic Distillers’ investment coming to life at this historic pumphouse today. Once the redevelopment is complete, the distillery will produce quality single malt Irish whiskey, contributing to the growth of Northern Ireland’s whiskey cluster,” he said.
“By making such a significant investment, this local start-up has already been able to increase its global sales and is now set to provide an exciting new tourism offering for Belfast and Northern Ireland.”
Richard Irwin, director of Titanic Distillers, described a “significant global market opportunity for Irish whiskey”.
“We’re already seeing great success for our Titanic Distillers Premium Irish Whiskey in retailers throughout Great Britain,” he said.
“With significant investment in a dedicated distillery, we’ll soon be able to produce and bottle our own products on this historic site and build on our success to date to grow in global markets, with an initial focus on the US.
“We’re very excited to embrace the history of our distillery’s location to create a unique product and visitor experience in a World Heritage Site, immersed in the spirit of Belfast’s industrial and maritime past.”
Invest Northern Ireland has provided support towards the creation of the 41 jobs and property assistance towards the redevelopment of the pumphouse.
Ten jobs are already in place and recruitment is under way, with operations, distilling, hospitality and sales opportunities available.
Invest NI interim chief executive Mel Chittock said a lot of people come to Northern Ireland for the whiskey heritage, and said this new distillery complemented existing distilleries at Crumlin Road Gaol, Hinch Distillery and Bushmills.
“In total we now have 10 distilleries producing a mixture of either whiskey or vodka or gin across Northern Ireland which is fantastic news,” he said.