Whisky and gin distillery planned for Polphail

4th December, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

Plans to build a whisky and gin distillery in the ‘ghost village’ of Polphail in the Scottish Highlands have been submitted to the Argyll and Bute Council.

An artist’s impression of the Portavadie Distillery

The Portavadie Distillery will produce 60,000 litres of alcohol per annum with intial plans to launch “high quality” whisky and gin, and other spirits in the future to meet market demands.

Whisky will be produced on site in a traditional manner, and will use malt and yeast imported from grain suppliers within Scotland.

Gin production will consist of neutral or rectified spirit, which is imported from third-party suppliers, and distilled and flavoured with botanicals.

An application that was previously approved for bonded warehouses will not be used, but instead the whisky casks will be stored elsewhere until there is demand for these warehouses.

As part of a wider landscaping concept, the distillery aims to grow the botanicals for gin on-site to “create distinctive and locally-produced flavours”. The concept will then allow visitors to forage their own ingredients in whisky and gin-making workshops.

The distillery’s planning application states: “The aim of the proposal is to be environmentally-friendly and function in a sustainable manner, taking advantage of local resources and reusing waste and by-products.”

The Portavadie Distillery, which will create six to eight jobs, will also include a visitor centre with café and bar, a tasting room, retail shop and staff accommodation.

A future phase of the distillery is a greenhouse building, where a upcoming detailed planning application will be submitted. The phase will allow additional botanical ingredients such as citrus fruits to be grown in what is a harsh environment, and waste heat generated from the distilling processes used to heat the greenhouse.

“In summary, the distillery and visitor centre will significantly enhance the tourist demand within the area, benefiting the local economy, provide local employment, wet weather opportunities, and extend the tourism season,” the application states.

Alexander Bulloch, who started in the whisky business in the late 1940’s, established Portavadie Distillery. The family has been buying in barrels of whisky, brandy and rum and bottling it in their cellar to sell. Bullock also went on to build wine, spirits and beer wholesaler A.Bulloch & Co.

Bullock has invested £300,000 to demolish the former Polphail village, bringing a long-running planning enforcement order to an end.

If planning approval is granted, the project will “progress quickly” with construction expected to start mid-2018.

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