Owner of Lough Ree Distillery Peter Clancy and owner of Churchtown Stores Pat Coman

An exciting new “entertainment experience” is coming to one of Churchtown’s hottest spots, Churchtown Stores.

The pub on Braemor Road will be celebrating their one year anniversary this December 5. It has been a fantastic addition to the village, and after a busy year, they have launched their function room and now, a Gin School.

Owner of Churchtown Stores Pat Coman

The new gin school will be run by the owners of multi award-winning distillery, Lough Ree Distillery.

Dublin Gazette caught up with the distillery owner, Peter Clancy, who told us about his popular brand and living in Churchtown.

“I’m from Longford originally. I moved to Churchtown in 2003, and have been living here since with my wife and three kids.

“There’s three of us involved in Lough Ree Distillery – myself, my brother and my sister.

“My brother lives up in Goatstown, so this [gin school] is very local to the two of us.

“We set-up a micro distillery in August 2018, which allowed us to make Sling Shot. That’s out in the market and it’s been very well received.

“We’ve won several international awards for it. Very few people who taste it have anything negative to say about it, so we’re pretty proud of it.”

Lough Ree Distillery is going from strength to strength, and are certainly a brand to be reckoned with.

Their Sling Shot Gin has won seven medals in a year worldwide, and their new ‘Lough Ree Zesty Citrus Vodka’ only launched in October, has already received the “Best Irish Vodka” award at the Irish Whisky awards.

On November 22, they will also be bringing out their first whiskey.

Speaking about the ‘Best Irish Vodka’ award, Peter said: “To get the same recognition for Zesty as early in its life as that is a massive boost for us.”

Sling Shot Gin School at Churchtown Stores is offering people an “entertainment experience” and an opportunity to make their own gin.

Peter told us what people can expect. “It’s a two and a half hour experience. People
come in, we get them nice and relaxed and give them a gin and tonic.

“We explain to them a little bit about the history of gin, where it’s coming from, a little bit about distillation.

“The ultimate aim of that after 45 minutes, they have prepared their own recipe.

“They have all the botanicals in front of them, we talk them through the botanicals, they’ll be able to sniff them, taste them and see what kind of different flavours work well together.

“Some people will have some ideas in their head, and for other people, it will be a blank page.

“We’ll be guiding them through that process, so that they make something that they actually want to drink!

“Then, there’ll be another gin and tonic and they’ll move over to the distillation area.

“There’s 20 stills. Each person then will put in their little jar of botanicals, with alcohol already in the stills, and start distilling.

“That takes about an hour to get enough liquid coming off the stills to be able to make a bottle of it.

“Then there’s a bit of testing the alcohol strength, diluting it with water down to bottle strength, and then putting it in a bottle. The bottle, 700 mls, will be sealed.

“We’ve purpose designed labels [saying] Churchtown Stores, Sling Shot Gin School. “People will actually sign the bottle themselves, and give their gin a name.

“So, they walk out with a bottle of their own gin!” Peter said the event is an “entertainment experience” and will be a whole lot of fun.

“We’ve purposely laid the place out that people are facing each other, so that promotes interaction and a bit of banter and a bit of craic.

“It’s a very much an entertainment experience.

“We have to give some element of education to call it a school! But we’re not going to be drumming high level distillation theory into them! – it’s a fun learning experience.

“You get a warm feeling coming into the pub, so we’ve tried very hard to stay in keeping in that while putting our own fingerprint on it from Sling Shot.

“It’s something we’re really looking forward to!” Sling Shot Gin School is an over 18s event and requires booking. It can hold 20 people maximum. It’s €100 per person – includes Sling Shot and Tonics on the night and a bottle of your very own, unique recipe gin to bring home.

For corporate bookings or to purchase vouchers, please contact Lough Ree Distillery directly at ginschool@ lrd.ie See www.lrd.ie/ginschool or www.churchtownstores.ie for more details.