Tourists and locals alike are delighting in the newest addition to the Northern Ireland food and drink scene.
Opened in January of this year, The StillHouse Moira is fast becoming a must visit stop for anyone in search of the best of local produce and a sip of Ireland’s first potato-distilled vodka, RubyBlue.
Capitalising on Northern Ireland’s growing international profile as a destination for foodies, Stuart and Barbara Hughes of Hughes Craft Distillery are looking forward to welcoming their 17,500thvisitor in a little under three months.
“Following an investment of £200,000 we’ve been able to create a true food tourism hotspot with a visitor centre, gin school as well as our gastropub.
“We are so delighted to have found a home for our ever-growing distillery. Locating here in Moira has allowed us to increase our capacity in order to meet demand for our RubyBlue range of small batch spirits.
“What’s more, our passion for showcasing Northern Ireland’s wonderful produce can also be celebrated through the creative food that Dave McClelland and our team of chefs in the kitchen are constantly creating.”
The newly refurbished site on the main street in Moria has been totally transformed to offer locals and tourists a real taste of NI. People have travelled far and wide to enjoy the warm and welcoming country pub; distillery and experiential tours, gin school and the experience won’t stop there. This beautiful site, houses a magnificent garden, which will play host to several community initiatives and events in summer 2018.
“Due to demand we’ve now increased our team from an initial 15 to 30 and are planning on recruiting another 10 over the next few months. We are also delighted to have just booked our first wedding reception and have applied for a license to host civil marriage ceremonies.”
Stuart and Barbara Hughes started the RubyBlue brand as a microbusiness from their Dromore home in 2010 and following great success they soon launched Northern Ireland’s first craft spirits production.
Success followed success and soon they were exporting internationally and had to move to larger premises. Trying to combine their passion for Northern Ireland produce with their burgeoning distillery business drove them to source a venue with space for the business to grow.
“And that’s where The StillHouse of Moira was born. We have relocated our bottling and distilling operations to the new site and are now able to showcase the full range of what we do in the perfect setting.”
Currently, Hughes Craft Distillery supply their range of spirits to a number of award-winning restaurants in Northern Ireland, including the acclaimed Wine & Brine, James Street South, and Michelin star-winning restaurants, OX and Deanes.
The company also supplies local supermarkets, including Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s and SuperValu, as well as upmarket department store, Fortnum & Mason, in Piccadilly, London.
Among its many accolades are the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition (Silver); The Vodka Masters (Gold); The Liqueur Masters (Gold) and numerous local, regional and national awards and recommendations including the McKennas’ Guides and Great Taste awards.