William Leathem established his Distillery in 1814 at Bohillion Farm, near Burt, on the Derry to Letterkenny Route. It was the only legal Distillery in Donegal during the 19th century ever to achieve some measures of success.
In order to avoid the poteen competition — usually a crude malt whiskey from a barley and molasses mix to be drunk within days of distillation — Leatham produced grain whiskey to a high standard which matured for at least a year.
Burt Distillery sold its whiskey as far afield as Dublin and even London, and had an annual production in the 1830s of 40,000 proof gallons.
With the success of the Derry Distilleries — Abbey Street was briefly Ireland’s biggest plant at the end of the 19th century — came Burt Distillery’s failure. It ceased production in 1841.
The premises are now used as a cattle farm, and some buildings and the chimney have survived until today.