Wednesday 12 December 2018

Tech guru Peirce among investors in Wicklow's Powerscourt Distillery as it raises €3.75m

Powerscourt Distillery will be based in the grounds of the Powerscourt estate in Co Wicklow
Powerscourt Distillery will be based in the grounds of the Powerscourt estate in Co Wicklow
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Tech entrepreneur Mike Peirce - who founded Mentec - has emerged as an investor in Powerscourt Distillery, the craft distiller based in the grounds of the Powerscourt estate in Co Wicklow.

The company has secured €3.75m in funding, with Mr Peirce stumping up €750,000.

Mr Peirce's son Alexander has invested €375,000. Both are directors of the whiskey business.

Powerscourt Distillery first announced plans in 2015 to establish the project at the estate, which is owned by the Slazenger family.

It secured planning permission last year. An old mill house on the estate is being converted to house the €10m distillery, which is using mineral water from Powerscourt Estate's well.

It intends to create a portfolio of whiskeys and expects to employ 18 people full-time.

At full production, the distillery will have the potential to produce more than one million bottles of whiskey every year. The first batch of whiskey is set to be distilled early next year and then placed in oak casks to mature.

Filings at the Companies Registration Office show that Powerscourt Distillery has just raised €3.75m.

Other investors include the Slazenger family, which has injected €1.5m.

The distillery's co-founders are Gerry Ginty and Ashley Gardiner.

Mr Gardiner has invested €380,000. He is also a co-owner and director of a Dublin firm, Dublin Display Centre, which undertakes shop fit-outs. That firm has invested €95,000 in the distillery business.

Anthony Murphy - previously a director of another shopfitting firm, Storebest - has invested €185,000.

Mike Peirce, who is now living in Guernsey, founded Mentec in 1978.

It grew to encompass processor design, hardware distribution and application software development.

It was acquired in 2006 by AIM-listed Calyx for €16m in an all-cash deal.

Mr Peirce was also involved in other technology firms, including chip designer Parthus.

The number of new distilleries and brewers established in Ireland has ballooned in recent years, with well over €100m having been invested in the sector.

In January, Guinness owner Diageo said that it will invest €25m in a new distillery at the Guinness headquarters in Dublin. It's reviving an old brand, Roe & Co for its whiskey. It will be aimed at the higher end of the market, with a €35-a-bottle price tag.

Other distilleries have been opened or are being developed in the city. Among them is the Teeling Whiskey Distillery.

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