Ardgowan Distillery unveils ambitious plans for £12 million Inverclyde distillery

Ardgowan Distillery has revealed ambitious designs for their new £12 million distillery which is being built on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip, 30 miles west of Glasgow.

The plans showcase the flagship building which has just secured revised planning consent from Inverclyde Council.

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The striking new design, by Michael Laird Architects, brings a number of improvements on the original proposal (which was granted full planning consent in March last year) and will sit alongside the distillery’s visitor centre which will be housed in existing buildings on the Bankfoot site.

“This is a state-of-the-art, modern distillery which not only looks fantastic, but will reduce our environmental impact wherever possible,” says distillery Chief Executive Martin McAdam.

“Our architects have worked closely with civil engineers Blyth & Blyth and process designers Briggs of Burton to create a striking distillery which fits well in the landscape and uses heat recovery and closed loop cooling to reduce energy use and water consumption, whilst the extensive use of glass means visitors will get a clear view of the bright airy interior,” McAdam says.

The first phase of the distillery incorporates two copper stills and six timber-clad washbacks, with a planned output of 1 million litres per annum. Future output can be doubled via the addition of two further stills plus washbacks in an already-approved second phase.

McAdam says the stills will be supplied by a Scottish firm and that building contract discussions are underway. It is also understood that the company is in advanced discussions with a keystone investor.

Last month the distillery released its first whisky, a 600-bottle run of Ardgowan Expedition 20-year-old, a premium blend of malts containing whisky which has been to the South Pole.

“Ardgowan Expedition is a real collector’s item,” McAdam says. “It has been blended by our Chairman Willie Phillips and comprises single barrels from upper Speyside and the northern Highlands, married together in sherry casks. It is something quite special.”

Ardgowan plans to follow this with a series of limited-edition malts – at around the £50 price mark – next year. These will showcase premium single and blended malts in the seven to eight-year-old range and will offer lowland flavour profiles which will be ‘indicative’ of Ardgowan Distillery’s future output, McAdam concludes.

The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirit and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.

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