That’s a wrap for our first ever Ten Locks brand trip, and what a trip to start us off.
After two years of video calls, it was fantastic to be able to see John O’Connell and the West Cork Distillers team face to face. We were treated to a tour of the distillery, learning how the award-winning whiskeys are made. Walking around, it’s amazing to think that company was started in 2003 by John O’Connell, Ger McCarthy, and Denis McCarthy from a room at the back of Denis’ house in Union Hall with two small stills bought from a schnapps producer in Switzerland. They have come an exceptionally long way since those days, the operation now is so slick, refined, and detailed and really is testament to the hard work, knowledge, and skill of the friends to grow the distillery to this scale in such a short space of time.
Furthermore, finding out that everything has been constructed in-house by a team of engineers, that all the ingredients are locally sourced and all the staff work within a 40km radius of the distillery makes it even more special. There’s a real sense of community, even though they employ over 100 people, everyone knows each and says hello. The tour reaffirmed that West Cork Distillers values perfectly align with ours, a company founded on expertise, integrity, which strives for positive change.
After earning our keep filling up some barrels of whiskey and pulling some corks out of the barrels, it was time for some sampling. The knowledge, care and level of detail put in place across the distillery really shows in the whiskeys produced by West Cork Distillers.
That evening we were shown some of the fantastic restaurants and pubs around Skibbereen, eating at the fabulous Mary Ann’s in Castletownsend, as well as sampling some of the local delights, mainly Murphy’s and Guinness. West Cork itself has a proud history in artisan food and beverage production and West Cork Distillers want to uphold this fine reputation with their Whiskeys.
The following day, after a wonderful breakfast at the West Cork Hotel, we were taken on a tour of the spectacular coastline of West Cork, including a fishing trip around Bantry Bay. We were lucky enough to see some of the local seals sunbathing on the rocks and West Cork’s famous eagle nesting in the trees high above the sea, and of course, sampled more West Cork Whiskey. The sprawling landscape is unspoilt and truly stunning in every way, with rich green countryside, clear waters, and beautiful architecture at every turn.
What does this mean for customers in the UK? The Ten Locks team will be making a lot of noise about this incredible distillery and relaying to our customers that West Cork Whiskey successfully maintains a craft production mentality, whilst managing to produce on a large scale. Which they are selling in over 50 countries worldwide.
The Ten Locks team witnessed first-hand why West Cork Whiskey are so successful which is driven by their continuing hands-on approach.
The attention to detail across every aspect of production; the careful and considered choice of the finest of Irish ingredients, overseeing every intricate progression of distillation, fermentation, resting and aging – using the highest and most bespoke technology that any of us have witnessed in a distillery – to literally producing every nut and bolt that the holds the whole place together.
On top of this to have a warm, welcoming family feel to their business is something to be super proud of.
We would like to say a huge thanks to the West Cork Distillers team for their wonderful hospitality, as well as the Long family for their transportation across Cork.
This felt like a real landmark for Ten Locks personally too, as a business that was born out in lockdown, it felt surreal to be getting on a plane to visit one of our fantastic brands. After years of uncertainty for the industry, this felt like a turning point for us, and we cannot wait to go back with some of our customers.
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