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WHILE   the   old   Snia   /   Saehan   factory   at   Hazelwood   remains   closed over   winter,   its   owners   are   busy   preparing   to   build   a   whiskey   distillery   there that will put Sligo on the international drinks map.     Dave    Raethorne    of    Hazelwood    Demesne    Ltd    this    week    gave Progressive   Sligo   an   update   on   plans   to   produce   a   premium   brand   whiskey with world-wide appeal at the former factory.    While   they   are   working   with   Sligo   County   Council   to   get   planning permission,   they   are   also   pushing   ahead   with   preparations   for   making   a   top range unique whiskey. Dave   said:      “Our   product   will   be   something   that   Sligo   can   be   proud of.      The   whiskey   will   be   at   the   upper   premium   end   of   the   market,   above anything that is available in Ireland at the moment”.    He   said   that   most   of   their   work   at   the   moment   relates   to   creating   the whiskey   brand.   “To   that   end   we   are   working   with   a   prestigious   UK   branding agency   called   JKR,   who   have   helped   brands   such   as   Budweiser,   Courvoisier, Jura and Molton Brown”.    In   terms   of   work   done   so   far   at   the   site,   they   have   re-roofed   the   west wing of Hazelwood House and have made the entire structure watertight.    “Basically,   not   a   lot   physically   has   happened   there   yet   because   we are waiting on planning permission.    “We   currently   have   four   local   people   employed   on   site   full   time, including   a   landscape   gardener   and   we   are   working   primarily   on   the   site rather than the buildings”.    The   site   now   has   24-hour   security   and   a   network   of   CCTV   cameras to keep it secure.
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NEW YEAR UPDATE ON PLANS From Progressive Sligo
(below)   An   artist's   impression   of   what   the large   new   elegant   stills   at   the   front   of   the building will look like.
Hazelwood   Demesne   Ltd   submitted   an   elaborate   planning   application   on September    2    last    for    a    facility    with    several    attractions    The    planners    requested further information from the company on October 22.   Dave   said   they   have   now   compiled   the   information   requested.      “The   council came   back   seeking   additional   information   and   seeking   clarification   in   a   number   of areas.   “We   are   in   the   process   of   putting   together   that   for   them   at   the   moment.      That should   be   completed   within   days   now.      Hopefully   we   will   have   planning   permission within the next month or two”.   The   planning   application   is   for   alterations   and   change   of   use   of   the   former 20,170    sqm    large    factory    to    a    whiskey    distillery    including    ancillary    bonded warehouse   storage,   distillation   plant   areas   and   offices. A   cafe   /   restaurant/retail   area occupying   1,740   sqm   is   also   planned   along   with   visitor   tour   and   staff   facilities   and associated services occupying 18,430 sqm.   The    project    includes    external    and    internal    refurbishment    of    Hazelwood House (2,277 sqm) to provide a visitor centre.   The   works   will   also   involve   the   removal   of   the   external   stair   to   the   east   of   the house,   the   creation   of   a   new   glazed   entrance   in   the   adjacent   east   courtyard,   together with    a    new    glazed    external    passenger    lift    installation    to    the    west    elevation    and external   ground   works.   A   terraced   /   deck   area   to   the   rear   of   the   house   and   a   water feature/pond   over   existing   parking   area   between   the   formal   garden   of   the   house   and factory/new distillery is planned.   The   basement,   portions   of   the   ground,   first   and   second   floors   will   serve   tours of   the   house   and   as   ancillary   museum   /   exhibition   areas   together   with   whiskey historical information and tasting areas integrated in a distillery tour. It   is   proposed   to   use   portions   of   the   ground   floor   and   western   out   building   as a   restaurant   /   tea   rooms   and   to   use   portions   of   the   second   floor   as   an   executive   office and boardroom together with two executive residential suites.   Craft   workshops   /   trade   displays   are   planned   at   existing   567   sqm   stables   to the east of the site. An   existing   surface   car   park   will   be   reconfigured   to   provide   237   car   parking and 5 coach parking spaces.  
The now disused factory was opened by Italian company Snia in 1971
The   company   intend   to   set   the   ball   rolling   on   building   the   distillery   as   soon   as   they   get   the   planning   go-ahead.   But   Dave   said   they   are   more concerned   about   taking   the   time   required   to   ensure   a   premium   product   than   delivering   it   quickly.   “I’m   aware   there   are   quite   a   few   other   distilleries setting up and their goal would be to start quickly and produce product as early as possible. “That   is   not   what   we   are   about.   We   are   working   to   create   a   long-term   sustainable   project.”   He   said   that   as   soon   as   they   get   the   planning   go-ahead   they will   start   ordering   in   the   equipment   needed.     At   the   same   time   they   will   start   building   works.   “But   the   time   scale   may   depend   on   where   we   decide   to   buy equipment from. We have not yet fully decided on where we will go for the large copper stills”. The   stills   are   made   by   hand.   Some   of   the   top   firms   supplying   them   could   take   18   months   to   deliver   because   of   the   time   required   to   build   them   and the   backlog   of   work   they   have   on   hand.   “Some   firms   can   do   them   quicker   but   they   are   not   available   anywhere   off   the   shelf.   Wherever   we   decide   to   buy from   will   have   a   big   impact   on   the   length   of   the   project   until   we   produce   our   first   batch   of   whiskey.      “We   are   more   concerned   about   getting   top   quality than   getting   it   done   quickly. This   distillery   is   going   to   around   for   a   long   time   so   it’s   not   something   we   are   going   to   rush   so   as   to   gain   a   month   or   two”.   Dave said   that   they   are   aiming   at   creating   a   world-class   brand   whiskey   and   making   Hazelwood   a   world-class   destination.   “We   are   very   excited   about   it   and   we are confident we are going to come up with something special”.  
Dave Raethorne of Hazelwood Demesne
IN THE MEANTIME   .  .  .  Last   year   the   company   opened   the   old   factory   for   a   large exhibition called Magnetism? But   the   owners   are   not   in   a   position   to   decide   if   it   that   will   happen this   year.      Dave   said:      “We   cannot   say   yet   if   the   premises   will   be   open to the public again this year.   “That   will   depend   on   the   timing   and   scale   of   the   building work   going   on.      If   there   is   a   lot   of   construction   this   year,   the   site   could be dangerous for public access”.   “In   an   ideal   world   we   would   like   to   open   again   but   at   this stage   I   cannot   say.      The   aim   is   to   open   it   to   the   public   as   soon   as possible.   “One   option   might   be   to   let   people   come   on   site   to   see   the building   work   in   progress   if   it   would   be   confined   to   just   one   area   of the large plant, but the focus will be on safety”, Dave concluded. (left ) Part of last year’s Magnetism exhibition  
Free counters!
Hazelwood House Gets Distillery Green Light          From the Sligo Champion     By Sorcha Crowley OWNERS   of   Hazelwood   House,   David   and   Sue   Raethorne   have   spoken   of   their   delight   at   finally   being   granted   permission   to transform the former Saehan Media factory into a major tourist attraction for the North West. Speaking   exclusively   to   The   Sligo   Champion,   David   said   "We're   delighted.   The   planning   conditions   were   all   to   be   expected.   We're very happy with it" "Sligo   County   Council   has   been   fantastic   to   work   with   in   terms   of   the   process   of   planning.   In   fairness,   they   had   to   ask   for   a   lot of information but they did make the process as easy as they could for us' he said. The   planning   permission   includes   the   restoration   of   Hazelwood   House   to   its   former   l8th   century   glory   and   conversion   of   the old factory to an exclusive whiskey distillery. It   was   the   first   Palladian   building   designed   in   Ireland   by   Leinster   House   architect   Richard   Cassels   in   1730.   Over   the   centuries it's been an aristocratic home for the landed gentry, occupied by an army squadron and used as a psychiatric hospital. Now   a   new   chapter   is   beginning   with   plans   for   a   visitor   centre,   museum/exhibition   areas,   whiskey   historical   exhibition   and   "tasting   area   along   with   a   restaurant   and   tea- rooms. The   former   videotape   factory   will   be   turned   into   a   modern   whiskey   distillery   warehouse,   visitor   tour   and   staff   facilities   and   another   cafe/restaurant   and   retail   centre. The nearby   stables   will   also   be   restored   and   opened   as   craft   workshops   and   trade   display   areas.   The   site   has   under   24-hour   security   as   ground   preparation   work   is   underway.      The first   sod   is   not   expected   to   be   turned   until   2018   under   the   owners   ten   year   phased   plan,   with   the   installation   of   the   distillery   plant   scheduled   for   2019   and   completion   of   phase   1 in the factory due in 2020. "From   our   perspective   a   lot   depends   on   funding   and   how   the   distillery   goes,"   David   told   this   newspaper   "That   plan   is   the   worst   case   scenario   -   if   we   can   do   things quicker we will move quicker than that’ he said. The   Dublin   entrepreneur   would   like   to   host   similar   art   events   on   the   estate   to   the   Magnetism   exhibition   staged   in   the   factory   last   year.   ‘If   there's   a   lot   of   construction work   going   on   it's   not   possible   but   we   still   have   options   around   the   site.   We’re   thinking   of   something   sculptural   perhaps   but   it   could   be 2017 before that happens," he said. ‘We   need   to   gather   our   thoughts,   sit   down   and   plan   now.   There   will   be   a   whole   series of announcements made then over the summer' said. David. Sligo   planners   attached   28   conditions   to   the   permission.   The   owners   must   submit   a   report annually   providing   details   of   the   work   done   the   previous   year.   The   proposed   conservation works   to   Hazelwood   House   shall   be   carried   out   under   the   supervision   of   a   conservation architect.   Under   "no   circumstances’   shall   any   water   be   extracted   from   the   Garavogue   River or Lough Gill for uses associated with the distillery. From the Irish Times
Dave Raethorne Hazelwood Owner
Permission granted for distillery at Sligo’s Hazelwood House Production of single malt whiskey to start in the Lough Gill distillery within 12-18 months Hazelwood    House    in    Co    Sligo,    which    was    considered    one    of    Ireland’s    most    at-risk    Palladian mansions   just   two   years   ago,   is   set   to   be   restored.   Sligo   County   Council   has   granted   planning   permission for the restoration of the historic house which was constructed for the Wynne family on the shores of Lough Gill in the early 1700s. The   owners   have   also   been   granted   permission   to   transform   a   former   factory   in   the   grounds   of   the   historic   estate   into   a   whiskey   distillery   and   visitors’ centre, incorporating a cafe/restaurant and retail centre. Hazelwood House was designed by architect Richard Cassels, who also designed Leinster House, Powerscourt House and Russborough House. Software   developer   David   Raethorne,   whose   company   Hazelwood   Demesne   Limited   bought   the   estate   in   December   2014,   said   production   of   single   malt whiskey   would   begin   in   the   Lough   Gill   distillery   on   the   estate   within   12-18   months.   “In   the   meantime   whiskey   will   be   distilled   to   our   specifications   at   The   Shed distillery in Drumshanbo, ” he said. Tourist attraction The   businessman   hopes   to   convert   the   property   into   a   flagship   tourist   attraction.   He   said   a   lot   of   work   had   already   been   done   making   the   house   safe, especially   in   the   west   wing.   Under   the   10-year   planning   permission,   the   former   factory,   built   in   the   1960s,   will   be   adapted   as   a   1,700sq   m   distillery   and   visitors’ centre. Mr Raethorne said this would be phase one of the project but he was unclear what the timeline would be for the restoration of the house. “It has been there for 300 years so whether it takes three years or five years, the important thing for us is to get it right,” he said