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Ardgowan reveals green distillery design

Scottish producer Ardgowan has submitted a new planning application for its whisky distillery and visitor centre, featuring a sustainable Nordic design.

 Ardgowan Distillery
The Ardgowan Distillery will feature a Nordic long hall design

The whisky maker first gained planning permission to build a distillery and visitor centre on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip in 2017. Ardgowan then revealed a revised design in 2018, which received planning approval the following year. The project was delayed due to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the producer has now presented another new design for the distillery, with an updated plan submitted to Inverclyde Council.

Ardgowan expects to receive a decision on the application in early 2022, with construction due to commence next year. The company hopes that the distillery will be operational in 2023.

The new design for the distillery uses low environmental impact composite cladding, timber and steel materials to create a ‘modern’ Nordic long hall.

The site aims to be carbon negative, using the latest innovations in energy reduction, heat recovery and carbon capture in partnership with specialist distillery engineers Briggs of Burton.

In summer 2021, Ardgowan received £8.4 million (US$11.4m) from Austrian investor Roland Grain, and up to £5m (US$7m) from UK-based spirits producer Distil, to begin construction on the new distillery.

Ardgowan will use an estimated £400,000 (US$555,422) to build a permanent home for Distil-owned Blackwoods Gin on the same site as its planned distillery.

‘Cathedral to whisky’

“My passion for whisky began as a teenager in Austria when I began to collect Scotch whisky, and my wish is for this project to create the highest possible quality whisky and a lasting connection to the community in Inverclyde,” said Grain, who holds a 20% stake in Distil.

“Central to this is our innovative building – designed by leading Austrian architects Spitzbart and Partners. This very modern Nordic long hall is pointing skyward, symbolising resurrection and our rise from the ashes of the former Ardgowan Distillery, which burned down in the Greenock Blitz in May 1941, and our ambition to become one of the top whiskies in the world.

“I hope it will stand out as a ‘cathedral to whisky’ and put this corner of Inverclyde firmly on the tourist map.

“Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and in 2019 Greenock welcomed more than 100,000 cruise ship visitors, so I believe there is a great opportunity to draw people here with a first-class food, drink and retail experience.”

Ardgowan Distillery CEO Martin McAdam expects the project to create up to more than 47 new jobs within five years.

He said: “We have already made our first local hire – our production coordinator Matt Blair is from Greenock – and we will be advertising construction tenders early next year.

“We have a very strong commitment to employing locally. Already we work with Gourock property specialists Bowman Rebecchi and Port Glasgow suppliers Scotcrest, and our ambition is to use local firms and employees as much as we can.

“Our goal is to build a world-class whisky distillery and visitor centre which will attract tourists and bring economic and social benefits to Inverclyde.”

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