Brand new distillery for Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast

A brand new independently-owned distillery is to open close to the iconic Giant’s Causeway, one of Northern Ireland’s globally recognised landmarks.

The Basalt Distillery represents a departure from traditional craft distilling with an emphasis on the latest sustainable processes, cutting-edge distilling technology and an unrivalled focus on precision.

Owned and run by local couple James Richardson (24) and Martha Garbe (24), the Basalt Distillery is preparing for the launch of its first spirit, Giants Basalt Rock Gin.

Owner, James Richardson, from Coleraine, said: “Martha and I both have Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and we apply that meticulous scientific approach to distilling. This is a step away from the hand-made, craft approach. It’s something new, built on precision and accuracy as a way of creating the most incredible flavours and high-quality spirits.”

After completing Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering, James and Martha both applied their minds to distilling and have achieved their certificate with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and have also completed a university course set by still manufacturer, iStill. 

Now, the Basalt Distillery focuses on the science of recipe development and the engineering of precision-distilled spirits. The distillery uses state-of-the-art technology and will use this to bring some really exciting new products to the market.

The distillery has also veered away from the traditional copper stills, opting for a stainless-steel square still, called iStill. The iStill eliminates the inconsistencies that occur when using traditional copper stills. It also helps deal with issues such as fluctuations in air pressure and temperature, as well as cooling. It means the products can be exactly replicated every single time.

Martha said: “Our flagship product is Giants Basalt Rock Gin – inspired by the basalt rock that filters our water from our own 600ft well. Some of our key botanicals have been selected from the coastal regions of Northern Ireland including Kombu Royale which gives a salty forward flavour followed by hints of mint, and sea buckthorn with a sour forward flavour and a slight fruity sweetness supporting flavour. The third key botanical is from further afield – Tailed peppers, or piper cubeba – which brings peppery spices and a slight bitterness. All of these botanicals contribute to the complex, bold, three-dimensional flavour profile that’s carried by our high 50.1% ABV and brings on heat and a kick.”

“We really wanted to create a unique gin with powerful flavours – a bold, strong gin full of heat and spice to represent a ‘Giants’ spirit.”

The Basalt Distillery are committed to sustainability, and their entire operation is directed by a social and environmental conscience.

James said: “We apply high sustainability standards across all of our processes, and we will release only 40,000 bottles of Giants Basalt Rock Gin every year – one to represent each of the basalt rock columns that form the Giant’s Causeway.”

This approach of putting planet before profit is a testament to their commitment to protecting the world’s finite resources, and a sign of their gratitude for all that nature has provided.

The Basalt Distillery is based at Bushmills, county Antrim. The independently-owned distillery focuses on modern practices and state-of-the-art equipment to produce bold, flavourful spirits inspired by the dramatic local natural landscape and the scientific background of the founders. The Basalt Distillery’s flagship product is Giants Basalt Rock Gin and with a focus on innovation more products are already in the pipeline at the distillery that only opened in 2021.