About Garnish Island Gin
Westward Cork Distillers was founded by childhood friends John O'Connell, Ger McCarthy, and Denis McCarthy. The two cousins joined up with O'Connell, who comes from a long line of (illicit) distillers. The operation started in Denis' house with 2 small stills brought from a schnapps producer in Switzerland. and it wasn't until 2014 that they expanded considerably and moved to Market Street in Skibbereen, making much of the equipment by hand as the need arose. A new distillery opened its doors in 2020 on Marsh Road in the same town.
The Marsh Road distillery has a capacity of 4mln liters of pure alcohol and currently staffs over 80 people, making it the largest family-owned Irish distillery. 8 pot stills and 2 column stills are currently running, with additional 3 stills dedicated to the production of gin. With 5 bottling lines operating non-stop, they produce 2,000 bottles per hour. 7 on-site warehouses store up to 55,000 casks of spirits. They aim to keep expanding while adopting sustainable practices and sourcing local ingredients wherever possible.
Garnish Island Gin is crafted by Ireland's only female Master Gin Distiller Deirdre Bohane using a custom, hand-made copper pot still. The spirit takes its inspiration from the lush greenery and Italian gardens of Garnish Island, the botanicals (including hibiscus, iris, rose, rosemary, and thyme) capturing the essence of the magical island off the southern coast of Ireland. Bottled at 92 proof, it's an elegant and floral expression that is elevated by some premium tonic and a slice of lime.
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According to Winston Churchill, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire," referring to the British officers using it to treat malaria in India.
Initially made for medicinal purposes, gin gets most of its flavor from the juniper berries added after the distillation process. It sure has come a long way from the Middle Ages, with the introduction of new botanicals, fruits, and spices, bringing it closer to people of all flavor varieties.
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