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Independent.ie

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Plans to build €138m whiskey maturing complex 100-acre midlands farm

Lewis, the miniature Yorkshire terrier was the winner of the fancy dress class at the Ardrahan dog show, Co. Galway. Photo: Hany Marzouk

Moyvore, a small rural village in Co Westmeath, is aiming to play a starring role in the story of Ireland's whiskey renaissance.

This month, Westmeath County Council will consider planning permission for a €138m whiskey maturing complex to be built on a 100-acre farm on the Mullingar side of the midland hamlet.

The first phase of 'Project Vault' is for 12 warehouses and a whiskey filling hall, but ultimately the ambitious local developers intend to build a whiskey museum on site to help promote tourism in the region.

With roughly 600,000 people visiting distilleries nationwide last year, it is hoped that the new private project will bring employment opportunities to the area with a total population of between 250-300 people.

Grain farmers nationwide are also expected to reap rewards.

The proposed site, located just 5km from the massive €223m forest holiday resort Center Parcs currently under construction in Forgney, Co Longford, was selected from 11 other possible locations nationwide.

Alan Wright, joint CEO of Mullingar Writech Group and one of two Mullingar businessmen behind the venture, already has commitments from three multinational distillers to fill 80pc of the space for phase one.

"This is liquid gold for Moyvore. Initially there will be 80 full-time construction jobs, we want to have at least 10pc local. A further 20-25 direct jobs will come for phase two, we want to give back as much as possible to the community.

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"Down the line, we want to develop a museum on site and we've already approached the minister about getting this on the Whiskey Trail, the Kilbeggan Distillery and Tullamore Dew are only a few miles away.

"There has been a renaissance in the industry since 2005 and there will be massive knock-on benefits for the barley industry and grain farmers. The more whiskey produced, the more business for barley farmers," he said.

Earlier this summer, the Government launched the midlands/east regional Irish whiskey tourism strategy which aims to grow distillery visitors to 1.9 million by 2025.

"Having Moyvore and Westmeath on the national and international whiskey map would be a phenomenal achievement," said Mr Wright.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy said the project would give a huge boost to the area which has no large employers. "It would be terrific for Moyvore and the surrounding parishes of Milltown, Ballymore, Ballynacargy and beyond. I hope there will a lot of support for it," he said.

A public meeting will take place with the people of Moyvore on July 19.

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