Harvest Lodge Distilleries approved to construct US$108m County Dublin distillery

IRELAND – Fingal County Council, the authority responsible for local government in the county of Fingal, Ireland, has approved plans for Harvest Lodge Distilleries to construct a new €100 million (US$108m) whiskey distillery in Balbriggan, County Dublin.

Planning permission for the new distillery was submitted in December 2021, with Cassidy Consultants as the lead architects on the project.

Independent local councilor Tony Murphy said: “The development will consist of a distillery which includes the provision of an ancillary visitor center which will be a major boost to the local economy.”

“This exciting new project will involve an investment of €100 million for the town of Balbriggan, generating approximately 150 jobs on completion. The project will be phased over 2 years and will also generate a tourism proposition for Balbriggan with expected annual visitors to the Harvest Lodge Distillery of over 50,000. This will also enhance other heritage sites in the area.”

Loan note specialist Invest 123 has emerged as a key backer of the proposed facility, Harvest Lodge Distilleries.

The promoter said the plan for a “purpose-built, state-of-the-art landmark building” will create 150 jobs and attract more than 50,000 tourists a year.

Harvest Lodge, where the company has bought to set up the plant, is owned by Naul, Co Dublin-based farmer James McNally.

McNally plans to use “generations of farming barley and wheat to develop the distinctive Harvest Lodge Whiskey, which is a whiskey built on centuries of tradition,” according to planning documents submitted to Fingal County Council.

Andrew Cassidy of Drogheda-based firm, Cassidy Consultants, noted that the main reason for choosing Stephenstown is because it has access to the motorway and there’s that link in the area with the history and heritage of Fingal.

The new business campus that will surround the distillery will have high-end industrial units, numbering eight or nine and, according to Mr. Cassidy, there are already “high-end” tenants waiting to occupy the units should the project win planning permission.

At the same time, Ireland’s plans to put stark health warnings on bottles of wine, calling it a “direct attack on Italy” as a major wine exporter, has received a furious reaction from Italian government ministers and wine producers.

Ireland said wine will now carry warnings of links between alcohol consumption and cancer, similar to those seen on cigarette packets, as well as on the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Once the law is officially implemented by the Irish government, the alcohol industry will have three years to bring in the labeling.

After submitting the plans in June 2022, Dublin received no objection from the commission during a six-month moratorium despite protests from Italy, Spain, and six other EU countries.

Agriculture ministry under secretary Luigi D’Eramo defended Italian wine as “history, culture… wine is part of the Mediterranean diet.”

“It’s about quality and responsible consumption,” he argued. “The health warning plan is a dangerous precedent which, if followed by other countries, risks damaging a leading part of our food and agriculture sector.”

Italian wine producers’ groups also responded angrily to the plan, with Federvini president Micaela Pallini describing it as “discriminatory and disproportionate.”

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