Hollywood legend Jean-Claude Van Damme traveled to Belfast on Wednesday to launch his own Irish whiskey brand "Old Oak".

Van Damme, who turned 63 on Wednesday, is known for his on-screen fight scenes but has swapped the silver screen for the whiskey business after striking up a partnership in Northern Ireland. 

Van Damme was looking for an American bourbon to invest in when he discovered Old Oak following a chance meeting with a friend.

"I was looking for my own brand of whiskey, possibly an American bourbon and then one of my close friends and business associates asked, ‘Why an American whiskey when you can go back to the roots of whiskey and find an Irish one?" Van Damme explained at Wednesday's launch. 

"He then introduced me to the Old Oak whiskey label which had yet to be launched and had been put together by some Whiskey aficionados in Ireland.

"It was also the perfect opportunity to combine two things with which I feel a close affinity …whiskey and its rich heritage and the charisma and warmth of Ireland and its people. I loved its aroma and the smoothness on the palate compared to the heavier whiskies I had tasted from different parts of the world."

He said the name Old Oak originates from County Derry, stating that the county's nickname is the Oak Leaf County. 

Van Damme has been appointed official brand ambassador at Old Oak, joining Kevin Carson and his Old Oak co-director and co-shareholder Ian Rowlands. 

Carson noted that Irish whiskey has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, with more growth expected in the coming years.

"The global demand for whisky generally is also expected to continue to grow especially in India and the Far East where we have already attracted interest," Carson said. 

"We are confident that this general increase in demand for whisky worldwide will in turn see a further boost in demand for Irish whiskey as consumers seek a greater choice. Old Oak is ideally positioned to take advantage of this, especially as our craft premium product gives consumers a premium drink which is not as expensive as the older aged whiskies." 

Meanwhile, Van Damme has been confirmed as a guest on the Irish Late Late Show on RTÉ One on Friday night.