Six Generations of Heritage

Micil Distillery was named in honour of our great-great-great grandfather, Micil Mac Chearra, who began distilling illicit poitín in 1848 on a Connemara hillside. Our family have been crafting exceptional Irish spirits on the shores of Galway Bay ever since, and we represent Ireland’s longest unbroken family distilling tradition. For over 170 years our family have preserved these traditions, skills and recipes, handing them down by word of mouth through the Irish language from generation to generation.

'Sláinte Mhaith' - To good health!

Sixth Generation Connemara Distillers

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The Story of Poitín and Whiskey

Poitín and whiskey both originated in Ireland, and prior to the introduction of cask maturation were essentially the same spirit, separated only by the buying of a licence. Both were distilled from malted barley and other grains, and both were known as fuisce in the Irish language still spoken in South Connemara. The word fuisce (pronounced ‘fwishka’) derives from the Irish uisce beatha, meaning ‘water of life’. This was later anglicised to become ‘whiskey’.


Galway’s Distilling Heritage

Galway is unique in that it had two famous distilling traditions – the great whiskey distilleries of Galway city and county, and the illicit poitín makers of Connemara. The Galway distilleries were large commercial enterprises licensed by the crown, while the skill of Micil and the other renowned Connemara fuisce distillers lay in crafting exceptional spirit in small pot stills, using nothing more than grain, water and yeast.

A Wealth of Casks

Throughout the Late Middle Ages, Galway was the main Irish port for trade with Spain, France and Portugal, and became the chief importer for wines distributed throughout Ireland. As well as giving the city its distinctly Latin feel, these unique trade links gave the city’s merchants their choice of wine and sherry casks for storing and ageing their whiskey. Many of the casks would find their way to Connemara, where they would be broken down and rebuilt as smaller ‘Connemara casks’, used to store and transport illicit fuisce.

A wealth of casks Micil Distillery Story

The Micil Family, circa 1937

Forging a New Era for Galway Whiskey

At Micil we are first and foremost distillers, with a passion for crafting extraordinary spirits. In 2020 we laid down Galway’s first legal whiskey in over a century, reviving and uniting the Connemara and Galway distilling traditions of the past. We now intend to explore the boundaries of traditional Irish whiskey-making, applying the creativity and resourcefulness of the Connemara poitín distiller to create exceptional whiskey with diverse flavour and distinct character.

Micil Distillery Forging a new era

Peat Influence

The whiskey we produce will be primarily peated, to reflect the terroir of our native Connemara. 100% Irish barley, oats, wheat and rye will be sourced as close to home as possible, and will help create spirit with bold and pronounced personality. Our intention is to produce predominantly Single Malt and Single Pot Still whiskey, reflecting historical fuisce mash bills and family recipes, while allowing us to constantly experiment and innovate as we forge a new era for Galway whiskey.

Cask Influence

Pronounced cask influence will be a feature of our whiskey, as we draw on our rich heritage when selecting wood types and cask sizes. Our use of traditionally smaller ‘Connemara casks’ will result in accelerated maturation and intense flavour profiles. Galway’s historical trade links with Latin Europe provide us with centuries of wine, sherry and spirit tradition when choosing casks for ageing and finishing Micil Whiskey.

Micil Distillery Glasses Forging a new Era

Our Spirits