New gin and rum distillery to set up in Cork's old Ford factory

New gin and rum distillery to set up in Cork's old Ford factory

The new rum and gin distillery will be located in one of the units in the the former Ford factory in the Marina and will trade under the name ‘Rebel City Distillery’. File Pic.

A new gin and rum distillery is set to open in the old Ford Motor Company in the Marina Commercial Park.

The brainchild behind this new venture is Robert Barrett who has over eight years experience in the distilling industry. 

A Cork city native, Robert initially began his career in Cooley Distillery in County Louth before emigrating to Vancouver and setting up his own distillery. 

“I’ve always wanted to establish my own distillery in Cork, it’s just been a matter of when was the right time to do so,” Robert told The Echo.

The Ford Factory in operation in 1938. The building is now occupied by various businesses with new plans for a gin and rum distillery in one of the units.
The Ford Factory in operation in 1938. The building is now occupied by various businesses with new plans for a gin and rum distillery in one of the units.

Up until July of this year, Robert worked for FDT Consulting as a Consultant Distiller.

Initially focusing on gin before setting their sights on rum, the new company will trade under the name ‘Rebel City Distillery’.

Plans have been in motion for the past year and Robert said it is now just about getting the building to a fit state before the anticipated opening early next year. The building is currently making adaptations to become fully compliant with current fire safety regulations as well as wheelchair accessible. 

Although it is not a listed building, Robert is doing his utmost to restore some original fittings: “We have restored the original door and are refurbishing some of the original windows,” Robert said. 

“We believe that Rebel City Distillery will be the first one in the city boundary since the closure of Watercourse Distillery in 1975.” 

Certainly a market with a lot of competition, Robert is hoping that his gin will have a unique selling point to entice customers. “My wife, Bhagya is from India so we have decided to source our botanicals from a region called Kerala in the country. The botanicals will come from local women in Vanamoolika and the gin will be called ‘Maharani’, which is an Indian word meaning ‘queen’,” Robert said. 

The new gin will be a small batch product, with 230 litres produced at a time and Robert is hoping that the unique taste of his gin will be a differentiating factor for the businesses. Initially selling gin, Robert is hoping to then segway into producing rum. 

He is also hoping it might be possible to establish a visitor centre at the site after a period of time.

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