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Lough Gill Distillery Founder David Raethorne pictured in the barley field at Hazelwood on the shores of Lough Gill.

Lough Gill Distillery Founder David Raethorne pictured in the barley field at Hazelwood on the shores of Lough Gill.

Head distiller, Oliver Alcorn.

Head distiller, Oliver Alcorn.

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Lough Gill Distillery Founder David Raethorne pictured in the barley field at Hazelwood on the shores of Lough Gill.

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Lough Gill Distillery celebrated its first Harvest Day last week with the cutting of the first crop of barley sown at Hazelwood Estate.

One of the distillery’s objectives is to make their Athrú whiskey as sustainable as possible, and as part of that goal, earlier this year they planted barley in the 8-acre field that sits in front of Hazelwood House.

The first barley seeds were planted in May, and now as the seasons begin to change, harvest day has arrived.

Sligo farmer Lester Hall and sons William, Dean and Philip from Coolaney were on site with their combine harvester for the cut.

Lester said: “Due to the good weather of recent weeks, the moisture content of the barley was 14% which is exceptionally low and really very good.

“We would usually cut it at 16% and have to dry it in a dryer. There was also a high yield for ground that wouldn’t usually be tillage land.”

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The barley selected is a non-GN species called Laureate - a high yielding barley - which grows well in most soil types and also performs well even when the weather might not be.

All of the whiskey made at Lough Gill is made using non-GN malt - the use of it can impact the sale of whiskey in some countries as it’s prohibited, so it’s something the Distillery, and other brewers and distillers, take seriously.

The barley will now be sent to Athgarrett Malt in Kildare, where it will be malted early next year. Once the barley is returned, having been malted, the Distillery team will ensure it is completely segregated from the start to the finish of the distilling process.

This will require quite a lot of additional work from the team, but will make the whiskey produced using their very own barley completely unique.

Not only that, it will have an incredible story to go with it too. For further information on Lough Gill Distillery and Athrú Whiskey visit www.athru.com


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