We’ll drink to that: Rebel City launches tours of its distillery in repurposed Cork factory

The distillery, in the repurposed Ford car factory, which was dormant for decades, is offering tours to the public each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
We’ll drink to that: Rebel City launches tours of its distillery in repurposed Cork factory

Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours are, Cllr Damian Boylan, Deputy Lord Mayor with Robert and Bhagya Barrett, Co Founders of Rebel City Distillery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

REBEL City Distillery, the makers of the multi-award-winning Maharani gin have launched their distillery tour in a historic docklands location in Cork City.

The distillery, in the repurposed Ford car factory, which was dormant for decades, is offering tours to the public each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Founders Robert and Bhagya Barrett combine long-standing craft with a splash of cultural creativity as part of the long-term plans for the first new distillery in Cork City in 50 years.

The tour gives visitors an insight into the distilling and blending processes that created the brand’s first offering, Maharani gin, and the soon-to-be-released absinthe.

Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours are, Cllr Damian Boylan, Deputy Lord Mayor with Bhagya and Robert Barrett, Co Founders of Rebel City Distillery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours are, Cllr Damian Boylan, Deputy Lord Mayor with Bhagya and Robert Barrett, Co Founders of Rebel City Distillery. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Speaking to The Echo ahead of the launch of the tours last Thursday, master distiller and co-founder of Rebel City Distillery, Robert Barrett, who has worked in spirits production for years, including in multiple distilleries and as a consultant on projects in Ireland and the Caribbean, said: “We decided that our first product would be a gin, Maharani gin. Bhagya is from Kerala in southern India, which is known as the land of spices, so it was a good fit for a gin and we sourced signature botanicals from the women’s collective in Kerala, so we get them directly from them.

“That’s been well-received since launching in June 2020. We entered five competitions and got five awards and we have about 100 Supervalus and really good off-licences, such as Bradley’s in Cork and O’Donovan’s.

“We’ve since been working hard on the launch of the tours. We hired an excellent tour guide and mixologist, Aisling Barrett, who will be leading the tours,” he said.

Speaking about the launch of the distillery’s new product, Ireland’s first absinthe, Mr Barrett said: “This will be our first product since Maharani, so this is absinthe, but in the future we could be doing other spirits and if the absinthe does well, maybe it’ll get its own brand, but we’re dipping our toe in the water with the release.”

Launching a brand in a pandemic was “not easy”, but production of Maharani has gone up relative to last year and is about to launch in the US and Sweden.

Pictured speaking at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours is Cllr Damian Boylan, Deputy Lord Mayor.
Pictured speaking at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours is Cllr Damian Boylan, Deputy Lord Mayor.

The founders were joined by Damian Boylan, the deputy lord mayor, on the night, who said he was “delighted” to open the Rebel City Distillery tours.

On duty making G&T’s was bartender Izzy Morgan and giving tours was Aisling Barrett.

Speaking to The Echo, co-founder of Rebel Distillery, Bhagya Barrett, said that bringing both her and her husband’s culture together on their distilling venture makes it “more exciting”.

Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours is Neidin Carroll, City Centre.
Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours is Neidin Carroll, City Centre.

Reflecting on her childhood in India, she said that she was particularly excited to use nutmeg mace as botanical in the Maharani gin, because it reminds her of her mother cooking at home and of the tree in the backyard, which she said made it “very nostalgic”.

The name, Maharani, made sense because they wanted to tell the story of the women of Kerala, who were known for their strength and importance in society, and to women everywhere, with Maharani symbolising revolutionary Kerala rebel spirits and figures of female empowerment.

Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours are, Lucia Moreno and Liz Buckley, both City Centre. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Pictured at the launch of Rebel City Distillery's new city-centre boutique distillery tours are, Lucia Moreno and Liz Buckley, both City Centre. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Tours will run each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Rebel City Distillery, Unit P6, at the Marina Commercial Park and tickets are available to book at www.rebelcitydistillery.com.

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