Waterside

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Waterside Distillery, Londonderry.

On leaving Abbey Street, we drove with our conductor, the polite and courteous distiller, to the Malt Distillery, which is situated about a mile distant, passing various objects of interest on the way. Near the Roman Catholic Chapel, outside the walls, are to be seen the St. Columb’s Wells; the waters therein contained are considered by the pious country people to be a specific for diseases of the eye, but in Derry itself they are not held in much repute. Adjacent to these wells is St. Columb’s Stone; on each side of it are two oval hollows, of which various legends are related. It is said that the water deposited in rain in these hollows possesses a miraculous power in certain diseases.

The Distillery is placed on the side of a steep hill, and is within a few minutes’ walk of the river Foyle. Just above the works we had a fine view of the city with its picturesque surroundings. The establishment covers three acres of ground, and the water used is derived from a huge Reservoir, covering nearly three acres of ground, some little distance away from the town, and the property of the Distillery. Besides this supply, there are two deep wells on the premises, from which water containing fine properties for mashing and distilling purposes is obtained.

The following is a brief description of these compact works, which are entirely walled in, and entered through an old-fashioned archway: - The no. 1 Granaries are two-decker buildings 300 feet by 200 feet, and contained 2,000 tons of barley. Nos. 2 and 3 are larger, but of one floor only, and adjoin this building; they each contained 1,000 tons. No. 4 is smaller and contained 600 tons. The No. 1 Maltings have three floors each 250 feet by 50 feet; No. 2 is not so wide, but is 100 feet long. Each of these five floors is concreted, and there are three metal Steeps, each of which can work 16 tons of barley at a time. In close proximity are the five Kilns, each about 50 feet square, floored with patent tiles and wire cloth, each having open furnaces. The dried malt is conveyed by Elevators and Screws to the Mill building, which contains four pairs of stones. From thence the grist is sent to the Meal Loft, where it is put into bags and shot through a sluice into the Mash-tun below, which vessel is 16 feet in diameter and 9 feet deep. There are two heating tanks holding 120,000 gallons. The Underback is a fine vessel and is placed under the Mash-tun. Most of the work in the Distillery is done by gravitation. On a gallery in the tun room are placed two of Morton’s Refrigerators. In the Tun-room there are seven Washbacks, each holding 16,000 gallons, and a Wash Charger of a similar capacity, which commands the Wash Still. The latter vessel holds 8,000 gallons. Here we were shown the new patent condenser by Willison, of Alloa, said to be an improvement on the other kinds in use.

Passing to the Still House, we were shown the following vessels: A Low Wines Receiver, holding 6,000 gallons. A No 2 Low Wines Still, holding 4,422 gallons. Two Feints Receivers of similar capacity. No. 1 Low Wines Still, holding 2,261 gallons, and a Spirit Still. These Stills are all of the Old Pot shape; there are no others in the Distillery.

The two Worm Tubs are placed immediately outside the Still House. From the Still House we were conducted to the Running Room, which, besides the usual safe and sampling safe, contains the Spirit Receiver, holding 2,000 gallons, also Feints and Low Wines Receivers. Thence we passed to the Spirit Store, which contains two Vats, each with a capacity of 3,000 gallons; and finally to the Bonded Stores, of which there are five, where, at the time of our visit, were stored some 20,000 casks.

The Cooperage, Carpenters; and Engineers’ Shops, and other industries, are all to be found within the enclosure; there is a capital Engine of 100-horse power, also two boilers 25 feet by 7 feet diameter.

The annual output is 200,000 gallons, and the make is Old Pot Still Whisky only, no Patent Stills, as we have before said, being on the premises.