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Titanic Distillers Invests Almost €9.3m In Belfast's First Distillery Since Prohibition Era

By Donna Ahern
Titanic Distillers Invests Almost €9.3m In Belfast's First Distillery Since Prohibition Era

For the first time in almost 90 years, the production of whiskey is under way again in Belfast, on the site of the historic Thompson Dock and Pumphouse, the birthplace of the Titanic.

Titanic Distillers has announced that it has invested almost €9.3 million (£8 million) to convert the Pumphouse, a listed building in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, into the city’s first working whiskey distillery since the days of prohibition in the 1930s.

According to the distillers, it will produce single malt premium whiskey made from ingredients that have been carefully selected.

A unique house blend of malted barley and yeast is used to produce the ‘wash’ which is then distilled in the three Forsyth’s stills, situated on a mezzanine floor overlooking the Pumphouse’s original Gwynne pumping engines which are deep in the building’s pump-well, the company noted.

The Thompson Dry Dock first opened in 1911 to service and accommodate the White Star transatlantic liners Olympic and Titanic.


All of the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features in the adjacent Pumphouse have been retained and are available to view as part of the associated visitor tours, while the exterior includes a new food and beverage area.

Distillers License

Having been granted its distillers license to produce spirits last week, the shiny new copper stills are now up and pouring at the distillery, under the supervision of head distiller Damien Rafferty.

“A lot of time, hard work and investment has gone into this amazing project to date, but this week marks the culmination of all that – with the distillery and visitor attraction now both fully operational," he added.

“In many ways though, the job is only beginning as we start producing a whiskey that the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland can be proud of, and one that will represent us well all over the world."


'Labour Of Love'

Commenting on the announcement, Stephen Symington, director of Titanic Distillers, said, that the project has been a "real labour of love for all concerned" over a period of more than five years.

“Our ambition, from the outset, has always been to embrace the history of our distillery’s location to create a unique product and visitor experience, immersed in the spirit of Belfast’s industrial and maritime past and inspired by the people who worked in Belfast’s shipyard more than a century ago.

“However, outside of the site’s massive tourism appeal and historic significance, it is important to recognise that, from this moment forward, we are now a working distillery in which we will be producing our own products to build on our success to date and make the most of the growing global demand for Irish Whiskey.”

Titanic Quarter


Titanic Distillers at Thompson Dock is within walking distance of distillery the world’s biggest Titanic exhibition centre and Northern Ireland’s number one tourist attraction.

The centre had more than 800,000 visitors per annum in the days before COVID-19.

Also resident in the Titanic Quarter is the SS Nomadic tender ship, and HMS Caroline, a decommissioned C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy that saw combat service in the First World War and served as an administrative centre in the Second World War.

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