A new tourist attraction, and most importantly the first working distillery in Belfast in nearly a hundred years, is set to open in late April.
The Titanic Distillers will throw open the doors to the public on Friday, April 28th.
Thompson Dock and Pumphouse is located on the west-side of Queen’s Island in Belfast, and was built by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, opened in 1911 and named after the chairman of the commission, Robert Thompson. It was designed to accommodate the new mammoth White Star liners, Olympic and Titanic.
Following the launch of Titanic’s hull on May 31st, 1911, the empty hull was moved to Thompson Dry Dock for fit-out, painting and installation of the propellers.
The Pumphouse featured powerful pumps that were able to drain Thompson Dock of 26 million imperial gallons of water in just 90 minutes, a rate of two swimming pools a minute.
Today, the dock is where it’s possible to properly gauge the scale of the Titanic, as the whole footprint of the graving dock would have been occupied by the hull of the ship. The Pumphouse serves as a heritage attraction telling the story of the dock and the Titanic.
Well over a century since the ships were built, visitors will be able to experience the workings of Titanic’s new state-of-the-art distillery, all while discovering the story of Belfast’s whiskey heritage and the stories of Thompson Dock and those who built the grand ships.
Whiskey enthusiasts will be able to get a look at the distillery’s three new Forsyth’s stills, which sit on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original Gwynne pumping engines in the building’s pump-well.
Officials with Titanic Distillers noted that all the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features of the building are still there, and are on view as part of the associated visitor tours, while the exterior includes a new food and beverage area.
Titanic Distillers Director Peter Lavery said, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Once finished, the project is expected to create 41 jobs across a number of areas including operations, distilling, hospitality and sales.
For more information on the distillery and the whiskey, check out www.titanicdistillers.com.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...