Former William Fry partner June O’Connell is part of a team setting up a micro-distillery on the Ring of Kerry.
The distillery, on the premises of the former Wilson sock factory at the west end of Caherciveen in south-west Kerry, is expected to produce both craft gin and pot still whiskey.
O’Connell is a Caherciveen native and has gone into business with her husband Patrick Cooney and the former chief finance officer at the sock factory, Patrick Sugrue.
It’s hoped that the Skellig six18 brand, which makes use of the iconic Skellig Michael in its branding, will become a major tourist attraction in the south Kerry town.
The number of steps to the top of UNESCO world heritage site Skellig Michael is 618, hence the new business name.
The premises looks west to Renard Point, where the ferry departs for Valentia Island, and the distillery will be producing gin that uses local botanicals.
Also close at hand is the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve, a protected place of natural darkness that minimises light pollution and gives a clear view of the stars and astronomical sights on a par with the Grand Canyon or the desert plains of Africa.
The distillery plans to initially produce 33,000 cases a year. It currently employs six people with plans to increase that number to 30.