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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Beef and tillage farmers diversify by entering Irish whiskey market

Ballykeefe, a Kilkenny-based family-owned beef and tillage farm, has diversified its traditional operations and entered the Irish whiskey market.

While the farming industry has been under intense pressure in recent years, Covid-19 has further impacted Irish agriculture.

In response to this, Ballykeefe has introduced this new commercial component to complement existing operations.

Entering the Irish whiskey market 

The family built Ballykeefe Distillery, which they claim is Ireland’s only family farm with a fully integrated Eco-Friendly distillery, in 2016 and began production in 2017.

The distillery, which Morgan and Anne Ging own, has been producing white spirits since 2017. It entered the whiskey market this week with its first Pot Sill Irish Whiskey launch.

The single farm, single estate and single cask whiskey will be available on limited release.

A total of 350 bottles at Cask Strength and 700 bottles at 46% Abv are available for sale today, drawn from seven casks of the premier distillations.

According to the Gings, every drop of whiskey in a Ballykeefe bottle is triple distilled from barley grown on the farm, making it a uniquely 100% grain to glass operation.

Morgan Ging, Ballykeefe Distillery’s owner, said: “The launch of the Ballykeefe whiskey is the culmination of over 25 years work for our family.”

“In 2016, we took the decision to adapt our traditional farming business and revive the longstanding tradition of small family farm distilleries in Ireland.”

“Our operations are centered around our unique, high-quality product, which is produced using leading technology to ensure eco-friendly practices and zero off-farm waste.”

Irish whiskey, whiskey distillery,

Packaging and presentation 

Dick Manogue, collector of rare whiskeys, described the limited release as a “collector’s dream” in terms of presentation, rarity and future value.

“Each cask is individually bottled, with both the cask and bottle number handwritten on the label of each bottle.”

The packaging and presentation further enhance the exclusivity and collectability of this first release. Each bottle has been hand-engraved by Kilkenny Crystal and mounted in a presentation box with a certificate of authenticity.

The cask strength bottles come with a larger presentation box which includes two hand-cut crystal glass tumblers, uniquely designed in partnership with Kilkenny Crystal.

Ballykeefe whiskey

Fruitful partnership 

Commenting on the partnership with two local businesses, Morgan added:

“I am delighted we are working with the team at Kilkenny Crystal. Their exceptionally talented craftsmen are among a very few who are hand cutting crystal in Ireland.”

“The Wine Centre in Kilkenny has been chosen as our sole retail partner for this first release due to our longstanding relationship and their expert knowledge.”

Ballykeefe has been recognised for its commitment to sustainability and has won multiple awards at local and industry level.

In addition to this, the distillery and farm operations are a flagship member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green program.

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