Mark Reynier’s Waterford Distillery has created the first biodynamic Irish whiskey, though the spirit won’t be available to purchase for several years.
The distillery has been working closely on the project with Minch Maltsters, and sourced 50 tonnes of biodynamic barley from three farms, grown by John McDonnell, Co Meath; Alan Mooney, Kilcock, Co Kildare; and Trevor Harris from Naas, Co Kildare. Waterford Distillery has been awarded Demeter certification from the Biodynamic Association.
Biodynamic agriculture was first outlined in 1924 by Austrian philosopher Dr Rudolph Steiner, and involves a farm becoming self-sufficient for all its needs, relying on homemade organic fertilisers and naturally occurring plant insecticides.
To prepare the biodynamic manure, high-quality cow manure is put into cow horns and buried under the earth throughout the winter months.
The benefits of biodynamic ‘Horn Manure’ are said to include its ability to stimulate soil microbial activity and the production of humus; regulation of the pH balance of the soil; stimulating seed germination and root development; and helping to dissolve minerals, even in deep layers, while counteracting excessive salt levels.