Walsh Whiskey is today turning the sod on the site of what will be the biggest independent whiskey distillery in the country. The €25m distillery will be built on a 40 acre site at Royal Oak in Co Carlow on the grounds of Holloden House, an 18th century country home that will be restored as part of the project. Once completed, by 2016, the distillery will have the capacity to produce half a million cases of whiskey a year.

Bernard Walsh, the founder of Walsh Whiskey, says the site of the new distillery is really beautiful and lies on the banks of the River Barrow. Tourism is part of the plan for the new operation and a visitor centre will be built there. Mr Walsh says that by 2021, he predicts 75,000 customers will be visiting the facility to see how whiskey is made from start to finish. Despite the abundance of new distilleries, Mr Walsh says there is room for all of them. He says that Irish whiskey sells about six million cases a year, but this is down from 12 million some years ago. "We are still the minnows in the international market," he states.

Walsh Whiskey's main markets mirror the markets for Irish whiskey sales in general - North America, Scandinavia, France and Russia. It is not yet a big seller in the new world markets of India of China. But Mr Walsh says that with its new partner Illva Saronno - who already have operations in India and China - the company hopes to change that fact.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Retailer Next is to open a warehouse hub in Ireland, its first outside England, to shorten delivery times for online orders. Alongside its half year results this morning, Next said it is not competitive on deliveries to Ireland because it dispatches all its orders from warehouses in the north of England. To address this deficiency it said it intends to open a warehouse in Northern Ireland, though it gave no specific location.

*** Fears of an overheating property market in the UK, and in London in particular, have abated somewhat after new figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors signalled a slowdown in transactions and inquiries. The RICS reported that the number of new buyer inquiries fell for the second month in a row in August. The number of sales agreed also fell for the first time since September 2012. Expectations for future price rises are also muted. The RICS survey showed a net balance of 9% of surveyors expected prices to rise over the next three months. In January the equivalent figure was 51%.

*** Microsoft is expected to tie up a $2 billion deal to buy the Swedish company behind the popular Minecraft video game. Microsoft and Mojang are reported to be in advanced talks. Minecraft, despite its blocky retro graphics, has proven hugely popular with gamers and very lucrative for Mojang. Unusually in an era where many of the most popular titles are given away free or for a token fee by games developers and make their money from in-game purchases, Minecraft charges up to $20 per game on various devices including Microsoft's Xbox games system.

*** Ryanair has shelved plans to fly between Dublin and Russia, for the time being at least. The airline was due to begin operating a service between St Petersburg and Dublin this year. But, according to the Irish Independent, it has now notified Northern Capital Gateway - the company which operates St Petersburg Pulkovo airport - that the route will not be launched this year. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said the delay was because sufficient funding had not been forthcoming from Russian tourism bodies to market the route.