Titanic Distillers announces opening date for new distillery in historic Pumphouse
BELFAST’S newest tourist attraction, and the city’s first working whiskey distillery in almost 90 years, is to open its doors to the public at the end of this month (Friday April 28, 2023).
Drinks company Titanic Distillers has invested almost £8 million to convert the historic Titanic Pumphouse, in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, into a new distillery and visitor centre that will give guests a chance to explore the site where Titanic last rested on dry ground, before her maiden voyage.
A listed building, the Pumphouse, and neighbouring Thompson Dry Dock, first opened in 1911 to service and accommodate the massive White Star transatlantic liners Olympic and Titanic.
Now, 112 years later, visitors will experience the workings of the new distillery and hear the story of Belfast’s whiskey tradition, why it disappeared and how it has now returned at the Pumphouse, the new home of Titanic Distillers.
Guests will also have a chance to view the distillery’s three new Forsyth’s stills which are situated on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original Gwynne pumping engines which are deep in the building’s pump-well.
All of the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features of the building have been retained and are available to view as part of the associated visitor tours, while the exterior includes a new food and beverage area.
With prices starting at just £10, four tours are available to book at www.titanicdistillers.com.
For £10, visitors can enjoy the Dock Tour, a one-hour guided experience of the exterior dry dock, including a 66-step descent into the historic location where Titanic last rested on dry land.
The Signature Tour, which costs £25, is a 60-minute fully guided tour of the distillery, located within the historic Pumphouse, a walk-through the distillation process followed by a ‘sensory experience’ and tasting of Titanic Distillers award-winning Irish spirits.
Premium (£40) and Legacy (£100) Tours are also available – both of which include tours of the distillery, Pumphouse and Thompson Dock, lasting two hours and 150 minutes respectively.
Titanic Distillers Director Peter Lavery is excited to finally open the doors of the distillery and Pumphouse to visitors.
“It’s been quite a journey to get this far but we’re finally here and we can’t wait to open our doors to the public on April 28,” said Peter. ”Whiskey has played an important part in the history of our city but there hasn’t been a working distillery here since the 1930s, so we are delighted to revive this great distilling tradition – bringing Belfast back to the forefront of Irish Whiskey production, while at the same time telling the story of a historic past when we led the way globally – not just in shipbuilding but across many areas of industry, manufacturing and innovation.”
Stephen Symington, Director of Titanic Distillers, added: “We have embraced the history of our distillery’s location to create a unique product and visitor experience, immersed in the spirit of Belfast’s industrial and maritime past and inspired by the people who worked in Belfast’s shipyard more than a century ago.”
“It is important though to recognise that, outside of the site’s massive tourism appeal and historic significance, this is also a working distillery in which we will be able to produce our own products to build on our success to date and really make the most of the growing global demand for Irish Whiskey.”
The Titanic Pumphouse is within walking distance of Titanic Belfast, the world’s biggest Titanic exhibition centre and Northern Ireland’s number one tourist attraction, clocking up more than 800,000 visitors per annum in the days before Covid-19.
Also resident in the Titanic Quarter is the SS Nomadic tender ship which ferried passengers to the great liner, and HMS Caroline, a decommissioned C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy that saw combat service in the First World War and served as an administrative centre in the Second World War.
On completion, the project is expected to create 41 jobs across a number of areas including operations, distilling, hospitality and sales.