Micil’s Story


My name is Pádraic Ó Griallais, and I’m a 6th generation poitín distiller from Connemara. My family have been producing poitín here on the shores of Galway Bay for over 170 years. Micil Distillery is named in honour of my great-great-great grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra. He began distilling in 1848 right here in Connemara.

His smooth, spicy poitín quickly became legendary throughout the region. People would travel from far and wide to buy Micil’s poitín, which was made from 100% grain and infused with a local botanical, ‘bogbean’. No party, event or wedding was complete in South Connemara during the late 1800s without at least a couple of bottles of Micil’s poitín present.

Six generations and 170 years later, we continue to make spirits with the same love and care that my forefathers have always done. Micil Distillery is the first legal distillery in Galway in over 100 years. We produce a range of traditional poitíns and an award winning gin made using local Connemara botanicals. All our spirits are handcrafted here at our distillery in Galway to unique family recipes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

In Micil’s words: “Sláinte mhaith!” (To good health)

Poitín – The Original Spirit of Ireland


 

We have a national drink, and it’s not the black stuff of corporations or the mass-produced whiskey of the clubhouse elite. It came before them, it came from us. A magical white spirit, it belonged to every man and woman. Before whiskey there was poitín. Poitín is Ireland’s original spirit and the precursor to modern-day whiskey, with a rich history and an irreverent past.

Banned for over 200 years by a foreign parliament, poitín was considered by most to be a vastly superior product to the mass-produced legal whiskeys, or ‘parliament whiskeys’, made by the large manufacturers. To quote the Irish writer and clergyman Caesar Otway – “To every Irishman poitín is superior in sweetness, salubriety and gusto, to all that machinery, science and capital can produce in the legalised way”.

The word ‘poitín’ comes from the Irish word for a pot, ‘pota’. This refers to the small pot-still commonly used by poitín distillers. Being caught with a poitín still by the excise men, sometimes accompanied by the British army, would mean a hefty fine or time spent in jail.

Traditionally poitín was distilled from malted grains such as barley, oats, wheat and occasionally rye. Only relatively recently was poitín made from alternative ingredients such as potatoes, whey, beets or sugar. The highest quality poitín is still that made from grain alone.

The traditional drink at Irish wakes, funerals, weddings and fairs, poitín is also renowned for its medicinal properties. A hot poitín is still considered by many to be the best way to get rid of a cold or flu. Poitín is also rumoured to be a remedy for impotence, as well as a powerful aphrodisiac.

Thankfully, poitín is now legal again (since 1997), after a 200 year ‘hiatus’. It enjoys Geographical Indicative Protection from the European Union, and may only be produced on the island of Ireland.

The Micil Distillery


 

Micil Distillery is Galway’s first distillery to open its doors in over 100 years. It’s headed up by Pádraic Ó Griallais, a 6th generation distiller passionately continuing a 170 year old family tradition. The distillery traces its roots back to 1848, when Pádraic’s great-great-great grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra, began producing poitín from a small stillhouse in Connemara.

We’ve come a long way since then. We now produce a range of poitín products made from 100% Irish grain, and our award-winning Micil Gin made using local Connemara botanicals. We make all our spirits by hand here at the distillery in Galway.

This is true craft production. Every single bottle of spirit is produced right here in the distillery, crafted using family knowhow and six generations of craft experience. We distil now the same way we’ve always done, by hand and in small batches. We use local botanicals and unique family recipes.

Book a Distillery Experience


 

Our visitor centre at Micil Distillery opened to the public in July 2018. We run tours and tastings on most days at our working distillery. The tours give you a unique, up-close insight into the world of Micil, poitín and gin.

During a tour of Micil Distillery, you’ll learn the real history of whiskey, poitín and gin. You’ll learn how they’re made, and what makes our own products so unique. You’ll hear some family history, from the original founder Micil Mac Chearra in 1848 through to his great-great-great grandson, Pádraic, our current head distiller.

You’ll experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a working distillery, and hear some interesting, funny and daring stories. You’ll get to taste for yourself the products we continue to make in a time-honoured tradition, spirits steeped in heritage, yet of their time. Our tours/tastings are a unique experience not to be missed.

In Micil’s Words – Sláinte Mhaith (to good health)

Micil Mac Chearra

Micil Irish Poitín


 

      • In 1848 my great-great-great grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra, began making poitín from a small stillhouse in South Connemara. My family have been making it here on the shores of Galway Bay ever since, carefully following Micil’s unique recipe using grain and local botanicals. Six generations have preserved the craft, producing this unique poitín spirit for family and friends.
      • Before there was whiskey, we had poitín, a clear white spirit distilled in small pot stills from malted grain. The true spirit of Ireland, our true national drink.
      • Made to the original 170 year old family recipe, every bottle of Micil Poitín is carefully hand-crafted here in our distillery in Galway. It’s distilled from 100% Irish malted barley and a local Connemara botanical called bogbean, giving it rich spice, honey and malt flavours with a smooth velvety finish.
      • A versatile spirit, a good poitín can be sipped neat, drunk in a sour, or used in your favourite cocktail, such as a ‘Micil Martini’.
      • Our recommended serve is the ‘Micil Mule’ – Micil Irish Poitín mixed with premium ginger beer, a wedge of lime, and lots of ice.

Micil Irish Gin

An irreverent gin 170 years in the making


      • It was a natural progression from making botanical-infused poitín to creating this uniquely West of Ireland gin, the distillation of six generations of craft experience, and a true story of place. Local ingredients are to the forefront, including bog myrtle, hawberry, heather, and the same locally-picked Connemara bogbean we’ve been adding to our poitín for over 170 years.
      • A West-of-Ireland take on a contemporary dry gin, every bottle of Micil Irish Gin is carefully crafted in our distillery in Galway, using hand-picked local botanicals and infused with the bogs, hedgerows and seashore of Connemara. It has a fragrant citrus nose, with hints of heather and bog-myrtle, which gives way to classic juniper and sweet liquorice notes, warm spice and a silky, lasting finish.
      • Micil Gin can be served in your favourite gin cocktail, white lady or martini, but is best simply enjoyed with a premium tonic water and a wedge of citrus.
      • Our recommended Micil Gin cocktail serves are the ‘Connemara Collins’ and the ‘Micil Gin Sour’.

Micil Heritage Edition Poitín


 

      • Micil Poitín is named after my great-great-great grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra, who began making poitín for friends and family in Connemara in 1848. My family have been making it here on the shores of Galway Bay ever since, for over 170 years. Six generations have carefully followed Micil’s unique recipes, using grain and local Connemara botanicals.
      • Our special Heritage Edition is made to a treasured family recipe, recreating a traditional method of poitín-making when malt was kiln-dried using turf fires. The peated barley gives the poitín a rich smoky smoothness with hints of malt, treacle and spice. The malted oats add a trace of vanilla and a soft peaty finish.
      • Every bottle is carefully hand-crafted in our distillery in Galway, using Connemara bogbean botanical and 100% Irish peated & malted barley and oats.
      • An incredibly smooth spirit, Micil Heritage Poitín is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but can also be used to liven up a cocktail.
      • Our recommended Heritage Poitín cocktail serve is a Micil Manhattan.