Monaghan whiskey trails and ‘The French Connection too’

Steven Murphy of ‘Old Carrick Mill’ distillery pictured at ‘Barton’s Mill’ in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. Pic. ©Joe McCabe

A new County Monaghan distillery is being supplied with ageing barrels for its
whiskey by a leading French winemaker to mark a long lost family connection
having been re-established between Ireland and France.
Top Bordeaux winemaker Barton and Guestier is supplying 50 mature French oak 350 litre barrels to ‘Old Carrick Mill’ distillery in Carrickmacross, County
Monaghan because the old mill, once the leading flour mill in the region, was
once owned by the Barton family.

To this day the building is still known locally in
Carrickmacross as ‘Barton’s Mill’. It was originally run by the family of William
Barton whose brother Thomas co-founded the world famous Barton & Guestier
wine business in Bordeaux in 1725.


‘Old Carrick Mill’ distillery owner Steven Murphy (30) established his distillery
at the old 18th century mill complex at Derrylavin, Carrickmacross in 2014. He
already produces award-winning top quality small batch gin and will commence
distilling his whiskey later this year when the ageing barrels arrive from France.
Sales of Irish whiskey have doubled over the past ten years with growth
worldwide now averaging about 17% per year.
Steven explained how that ‘French connection’ was unexpectedly re-established
when he brought his ‘Old Carrick Mill’ brand gin to the prestigious Wine and
Spirit Wholesalers of America trade show in Orlando, Florida where his gin was
awarded a silver medal.

“At that trade show my stand just happened to be located right next to the
Barton and Guestier stand. I got talking to one of their senior representatives
who was amazed to hear that I was producing gin and whiskey back in Ireland exactly where some of the original Barton family members had
lived.”

The Barton & Guestier representatives were delighted to learn of the
connection and particularly as the 300th anniversary of B&G wine approaches.
Steven added:- “Barton and Guestier have invited me over to Bordeaux this
coming September but what is even more significent for me is that they have
also promised to supply me with fifty vintage 350 litre French oak Chateau
Magnol barrels which I will use to age my ‘Old Carrick Mill’ whiskey which I
hope to start distilling very soon.”
A spokesperson for Barton and Guestier, Petra Frebault, said: We were
delighted to learn of the connection between Thomas Barton, the founder of
our company who settled in Bordeaux in 1725 and the family's link to
Barton's Mill back in Carrickmacross in Ireland. To mark this Barton link
between France and Ireland we will be supplying Old Carrick Mill with 50 of
our vintage barrels for the production of whiskey at the old Barton
homestead.
Fine wine is infused in the wood in these barrels and with locally sourced
limestone filtered water and the whiskey’s key ingredients added during the
distilling process it will give the whiskey a very distinct flavour.
With the gin distilling and distribution side of his business up and running
Steven Murphy intends to initially part-fund his whiskey production by offering
a once-off ‘Founder’s Reserve’ investment opportunity for each of the first 50
barrels of whiskey he produces.
The original 20ft diameter water wheel at ‘Barton’s Mill’, its French grinding
stones, malting room, sluces and wooden machinery are all still largely intact
but in need of restoration. With a view to taking advantage of future tourism
opportunities, the Carrickmacross businessman plans to restore ‘Barton’s Mill’ to
a working mill once more and to significently boost employment in the area
creating as many as 30 jobs over the next five years.
“My ultimate goal is to restore the mill so that I can practically use the
malting room to ‘malt’ or gently heat locally produced barley to bring it to
the perfect germination point for whiskey distilling before it is ground on the
original grindstones for use in my whiskey distilling. I also intend to have a
visitor centre and venue here too. This, along with the actual distilling
process, is something that will bring tourists here. It will be a very unique
attraction.”
The Monaghan based distiller points out that whiskey tourism has become huge
in the United States with a phenominal growth in visitor numbers on whats
called ‘The BourbonTrail’ to established distilleries such as ‘Wild Turkey’,
‘Maker’s Mark’ and ‘Jim Beam’. He concluded: “There is no reason why here in Ireland and given our pedigree in whiskey production that we cannot produce our own Irish whiskey tourist trail to bring tourists to the many whiskey producing
locations throughout the country.”

Source: Old Carrickmill

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