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Sliabh Liag Distillers seeking €1.5m investment to fund expansion

Irish whiskey maker Sliabh Liag Distillers is seeking a €1.5 million investment to support the next phase of its expansion, as it looks to put Donegal back on the distilling map.

Sliabh Liag (pronounced "sleeve league", meaning mountain of flagstones) has opened a Crowdcube campaign, which is running until late September, to garner investment to help grow its presence - and that of Irish whiskey - on a global scale.

Husband and wife team James and Moira Doherty founded Sliabh Liag, the first distillery in Donegal for more than 175 years, with the goal to reclaim the region's distilling heritage. The couple have seen international interest in their products, as demand for premium Irish whiskey grows.

The distillery is preparing for a phased move to Ardara, its new headquarters and brand home, from autumn 2021. Work is underway on the site, which will increase Sliabh Liag's production capacity to 500,000 litres of alcohol per year to meet an expected increase in international demand. The site will also be a hub for whiskey tourism, with tiered levels of tours to take visitors through the distillery, the distilling process and local history and culture, including pointín making.

James Doherty said: "Both my grandfathers were illicit pointín men. This is in my DNA. It is my legacy and one that I think my grandfathers would be proud of. I want to share this legacy - this opportunity to cement artisan Irish whiskey as the world's best - with those who want to come along with us on this exciting journey through Ireland's long, almost lost distilling heritage."

Moira Doherty added: "The Ardara distillery is the natural next step in our journey to revive the Irish whiskey tradition, to bring it back to the communities while taking the name of Donegal to the furthest reaches we can."

People who donate the the crowdfunding campaign will be eligible for rewards including having their name etched on a copper still and receiving a bespoke 'Silkie' fishing fly. The investment will also be eligible for EIS tax relief in the UK (EIIS tax relief in Ireland).

To find out more, go to the Sliabh Liag Distillers website.

3 September 2020 - Bethany Whymark