Titanic Distillers Plans Greenlighted To Convert Pump-House Into Distillery, Tourism Center

By Hannah Kanik / November 24, 2021

Officials in Belfast, Northern Ireland recently approved plans for the historic Titanic Pump-House there to be converted into a new Irish whiskey distillery and world-class tourist attraction.

A building in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the Pump-House, along with its neighboring dry dock, first opened in 1911 and is noted as being the only authentic Titanic landmark in the world.

Belfast drinks company Titanic Distillers were the ones that got approval for this. There will be three large stills on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original pumping engines, which are situated in the pump-well. Also, all the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features of the building will be retained and available to view during the visitor tour.

Titanic Distillers

Belfast’s historic Titanic Pump-House will be the site of a new distillery (image via Titanic Distillers)

The new tourism center will feature an on-site speakeasy bar and café with free wifi, a gift shop, exhibition space and an enlarged mezzanine floor with tasting rooms.

The exterior of the pump house would remain relatively untouched — aside from restoration requirements. Guests will be able to view the famous Thompson dry dock that was built in 1911 to accommodate the massive White Star transatlantic liners Olympic and Titanic.

“We are very excited that our planning application has been approved,” said Titanic Distillers Director Richard Irwin in a prepared statement. “Titanic Distillers is inspired by the people who worked in Belfast’s shipyard more than a century ago – and now tourists will be able to walk in their footsteps in the very pump-house and dry dock that represent such an authentic part of the Titanic story and indeed the history of Belfast. At Titanic Distillers, we are very aware that we have a big responsibility as custodians of a hugely historic and global brand, and it is crucially important that we preserve the historical integrity of this building and its surrounds.”

Once completed, visitors will be able ‘clock in,’ as workers did a century ago, to view the workings of the distillery and hear the story of Belfast’s whiskey tradition, why it disappeared and how it has returned with the city’s first working whiskey distillery in more than 100 years.  

“In the days before Prohibition, Belfast was once the largest producer of Irish Whiskey on the island of Ireland,” said Titanic Distillers Director Peter Lavery. “Whiskey has played an important part in the history of our city.  We want to revive this great distilling tradition and bring Belfast back to the forefront of Irish Whiskey production, while at the same time telling the story of a glorious past when Belfast led the way globally – not just in shipbuilding but across many areas of industry, manufacturing and innovation. We are excited to tell this story through our whiskey and our vision to develop the Pump-House to create a truly authentic experience that will allow visitors to feel they were really there.”

The pumphouse is within walking distance of the Titanic Belfast, the world’s biggest Titanic exhibition centre and Northern Ireland’s No. 1 tourist attraction.

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