Blacks Brewery, Distillery and Visitor Centre – Kinsale, Co. Cork

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Blacks Brewery was founded in 2013 by Sam and Maud Black, later the distillation of spirits (whiskey, rum and gin) was incorporated into their product portfolio. In 2020 due to continued success and growth they set out to find a site that would offer them room to accommodate a bespoke purpose-built brewery, distillery and visitors centre in close proximity to Kinsale town.

In consultation with the client, sites were shortlisted and appraised for their development potential while keeping the clients’ objectives firmly to the fore. It was finally decided to focus any future development proposal on the site of the ‘Old Shirt Factory’ on the western edge of Kinsale town which offered views over the estuary of the River Bandon and the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the proposed development. This brownfield site offered the opportunity to regenerate the former factory building on site that laid dormant for approximately 20 years. While the site offered a scenic location, it was potentially susceptible to flooding, though never flooded as well as been located adjacent to ‘Commogue Marsh’, an important local wildlife habitat.

From the outset, the design philosophy was to ensure that the proposed development (1,725m2 total floor area & onsite car parking) would not impact negatively on the existing ecology and biodiversity of the area as well as ensuring that the new facility once completed would not experience the ramifications of any potentially flood event, even though none had been recorded on site.  

The proposed development incorporated flood defence measures such as raised finished floor levels, adequate storm drainage, flood resistant and resilient construction, access/egress during flood event for people, and in particular a swale extending the length of site on it’s southern boundary. To ensure that the development would not visually disturb any wildlife – new native hedgerow planting and screen buffer would be implemented along the sites eastern and northern boundaries. In addition to this, a Lighting Assessment was completed to ensure no light spill would affect the adjacent marsh habitat. The development proposal came through a rigorous cross departmental Pre-Planning consultation where it was noted that, “a coherent scheme was presented that showed joined-up thinking re: planning, design, ecological and engineering strategy” (Planners Report).


The application was later submitted on 21st September 2021, no third-party objected to the proposed development and permission was granted on 28th January 2022.

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