THE first distillery to operate in the centre of Cork in almost a century is to begin making rum in the Bodega bar on Cornmarket Street through a major €5.2m revamp.
Publican Benny McCabe has lodged plans for a new microbrewery and distillery to be located at the rear of the building that was recently renamed The Old Town Whiskey Bar.
Under the plans, lodged with the City Council, the microbrewery will make beer for the award-winning range already being produced across the street in Rising Sons. The extra capacity is needed to meet the demand for beers such as Mi Daza stout and Steeple Pale Ale.
Alongside the microbrewery will be a new distillery that will produce dark rum in a nod to Cork’s centuries-old shipping and naval links with the Caribbean.
Mr McCabe told the Evening Echo the new development would create 15 jobs.
“We hope to begin work in March. At the moment we cannot keep up with demand at (the nearby) Rising Sons and this will give us the extra capacity,” he said.
“The distillery will be a significant addition and will bring traditional industries back to Cork. Something we need to see more of. We will be making dark rum. Cork historically had strong links through its shipping and naval links with the Caribbean, so we believe it will be a fitting tribute and a popular one.”
“There was a time when a lot of distilling was taking place in the city. Having this type of operation in the city centre is a vital addition to Cork.” The microbrewery and distillery will take up the rear third of the Bodega building.
Mr McCabe said the Rising Son beer products remain very popular. “We primarily supply Cork but are also selling into Dublin, Wexford, Limerick and Carlow and at the moment cannot keep up with demand.”
A planning decision on the Bodega development is expected in February.