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Plans for Ardgowan Distillery approved

The Ardgowan Distillery Company has been given the green light to build a new £12 million (US$15m) lowland distillery and visitor centre on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip.

The site of the proposed Ardgowan Distillery

Yesterday (1 March) Inverclyde Council approved plans for the lowland malt whisky distillery, which is scheduled to be operational in 2019.

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 spirt and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.

Work on the distillery will begin this year, and will see the construction of a state-of-the-art facility on the site of an old sawmill on estate land near Inverkip, 30 miles west of Glasgow.

“Our goal is to produce a truly outstanding seven-year-old lowland single malt”, said Martin McAdam, the distillery’s chief executive.

“In the coming weeks we will commence detailed design and procurement work for the construction of the distillery, and this will give us the opportunity to engage with local businesses and the public in order to develop our plan and start to employ the staff that will be engaged during the construction and operational stage.”

The estate saw a series of infamous witch trials in the 17th centuries, and in 1819 Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart (the 5th Baronet) married Eliza Farquhar, a direct descendent of Pocahontas, one of the most significant figures in the early colonial history of America.

“The lands around the estate have been occupied nearly continuously for over 4,000 years and the history of my family at Ardgowan stretches back over 600 years. In that time, Ardgowan has played its part in the story of Scotland,” said Sir Ludovic Shaw-Stewart, the 12th Baronet and owner of Ardgowan Estate.

“King Robert the Bruce fought here prior to Bannockburn and his descendent King Robert III granted the estate lands to my ancestor Sir John Stewart in 1404.”

“The Ardgowan Distillery will be a fantastic new chapter in the history of this area, and all future drams will have these extraordinary bloodlines – from both Scotland and the United States – in their veins.”

Last month, the distillery announced the appointment of former Macallan managing director Willie Phillips as company chairman, and ex-Bruichladdich and Diageo veterans Gordon Wright and Michael Egan to the team.

“We have a tremendous team on board and are now looking for our next round of investors who can join us on this very exciting journey,” McAdam concludes.

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