Tullamore may be world renowned for its whiskey, but the town's first artisan gin is beginning to cause a stir at home and abroad.
Recently named among the top 10 Irish artisan gins by influential food and drink website, LovinDublin, Mór is produced in a distillery on Church Lane with water from the Slieve Blooms and a combination of botanicals including blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, juniper, coriander, angelica and rosemary.
One of the main things that sets a great gin apart from a good one are the botanticals used and before settling on his final flavour combination, Mór's founder, Tullamore entrepreneur Eoin Bara, went through 144 different ingredients.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent this week, Eoin, whose grandfather William O'Donoghue was a distiller at Tullamore Dew, joked that when testing his prototypes he “learned the hard way” that it was better to lick a sample from a spoon rather than drink it from a glass.
With a background in design, it's unsurprising that Eoin's attention to detail extended to all aspects of Mór's product development - he looked at 20 different corks before coming to a decision.
His efforts and those of his four staff certainly haven't been in vain. Although the first bottles only hit the shelves in early October, Mór is already proving very popular with gin drinkers around the globe.
“Remarkably we are doing a lot of exports. At the the minute Spain, Germany and Portugal are three of our main markets. Surprisingly, Canada and the US have come on very quickly too and we have just signed a deal to import to the States.
“We are not stretched yet but we are getting there. We are going to have to employ more people shortly. Everything is hand made. The label is applied by hand and we hand number every bottle. It's labour intensive, but hugely important at every point in the process we keep a check on the quality.”
Gin is enjoying a revival in popularity and over the last five years a number of artisan distillers have opened across Ireland. Proud to be Tullamore's first artisan gin distiller, Eoin says that the spirit's growing popularity is down to a shift in people's consumption patterns.
“People are bored of generic flavours. They want something different. Data is showing gin is actually taking away from the vodka market. People are are looking for a new experience. Drinking less but are drinking more premium products, it's more about flavour and taste.”
After testing more than 144 ingredients in Mór's development phase, Eoin and his team certainly know their flavours.