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José Cuervo in £30 million plans to double capacity at Bushmills

Published:  21 December, 2015

The Bushmills distillery in County Antrim will double in capacity if new expansions plans meet with local planning approval.

The whiskey brand was acquired from Diageo by Mexico's José Cuervo earlier this year in exchange for Tequila Don Julio.

José Cuervo is now proposing to spend £30m on developing the facility, including a new distillery, the BBC has reported.

An additional £30 million will be invested in the plant over the next decade, the plans suggest.

Up to 20 jobs will be created by the expansion, adding to the 150 staff already employed at the site.

The plans include a new tourism and visitor centre for Bushmills, to capitalise on the growing market for whisky tourism.

"Investments are very positive for Irish Whiskey and Ireland as a whole; they are securing the long term future of the industry," Colum Egan, master distiller at Bushmills, said to Harpers earlier in the year.

"It's fantastic and another sign of the category and the demand growing globally.

"The history of Irish whiskey shows that the category dominated the world of whisky back in the late 1800s but hit a rough patch in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

"Today Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirit category so it's wonderful to see it redeem its status."

Ireland has just four distilleries producing mature whiskey, another four new distilleries in operation, and some twenty at the planning or development stage.

Scotland has 115 functioning distilleries and a further 30 under construction.

The award-winning visitor centre at Jameson's distillery in Cork attracted around 125,000 visitors this year, up 5% on 2014.

 A survey by the Scottish Whisky Association found that Scotland's distilleries attracted over 1.5 million visitors in 2014, an uplift of 6% on the previous year.

Visitors spent some £50 million in total.