FIRST DISTILLER IN BELFAST FOR ALMOST 90 YEARS
We would like you all to meet our Head Distiller, Damien Rafferty.
Damien will be the first whiskey distiller in Belfast since prohibition, a title with a heap of responsibility and weight to it but he is more than ready to take on this challenge with us.
Damien elaborated that “Belfast is historically a Whiskey distilling city, prohibition was the death knell for the industry, but now Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing drinks category in the world.”
“We have the privilege of being the first Whiskey distillery in Belfast since prohibition, and here in this distillery we seek to blend the traditions and craftmanship of the past with the best of modern science, technology and skill to produce a Whiskey we can be proud of.”
Damien will be responsible for integral tasks such as sourcing our Whiskey’s raw materials, and managing its brewing process, fermentation, distillation, casking, and maturation amongst a range of other key functions in the role.
A proud son of a farmer, Damien grew up surrounded by an environment that would later shape his passion for production and growth. He began as a civil engineer, studying here in Belfast, before traveling abroad to pursue a career in engineering which took him to Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada.
His interest in brewing was always there and he discovered this abroad, meeting a mix of maltsters, brewers and distillers and learning their processes, which lead to Damien making a career change and pursuing brewing back in Ireland, establishing Ireland’s only floor maltings, and supplying craft malt to local breweries and distilleries.
From here, he utilised his brewing skills and malting experience to become a distiller of Whiskey, implementing his passion for distilling ever since. From early beginnings of growing grain, to producing malt, to brewing and distilling, Damien is truly a grain-to-glass distiller.
Damien talks of the project at hand for Titanic Distillers: “The Pumphouse and Thompson dock are truly historical sites. We have the opportunity to showcase old Belfast and marry that with the new Belfast. Our Distillery is right on the dockside and the influence of the maritime environment will make for some interesting spirits being produced here for a long time to come, I personally can’t wait for it to begin!