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Founders submit plans for Campbeltown distillery

Glasgow-based whisky bottler and blender Brave New Spirits has submitted a planning application to build a single malt whisky distillery in Campbeltown.

Witchburn Distillery
An artist’s impression of the proposed Witchburn Distillery

The application to Argyll & Bute Council details plans to build the new distillery at the former RAF Machrihanish airbase in Campbeltown, Scotland.

Witchburn Distillery, as it would be called, would produce unpeated, lightly peated and heavily peated single malt whiskies.

Adam Hochul and Alexander Springensguth, joint owners of Brave New Spirits, said in a joint statement: “We are looking forward to becoming part of the community, contributing to the already worldwide reputation of Campbeltown whisky. We could not find a better location to build our first still house.

“The distillery is a great addition to our existing portfolio of internationally recognised brands of Scotch whisky, but also an opportunity to give back to the outstanding community of Scottish whisky distilleries.”

If approved, the site would house a five-tonne mash tun and 16 wash backs, each with a 30,000-litre capacity. It would also include two wash stills, each with a capacity of 16,000 litres, and two spirit stills, which could hold up to 7,000 litres.

The net-zero distillery would produce two million litres of alcohol annually, and would be powered entirely by green renewable energy sources.

The founders plan to run the distillery 24/7 to ensure it keeps reusing as much heat and energy as possible.

In terms of Witchburn’s wood policy, most new make spirit will be filled into American Bourbon barrels, oloroso Sherry casks, select Tawny and Ruby Port barriques, and organic Bordeaux wine barriques.

Maturation will take place on site, close to the sea.

Andrew Nairn, former distillery manager of Glenkinchie, Strathmill and Borders Distillery, will be Witchburn’s master distiller.

The co-founders added: “The whole design aims to produce a typical, complex and full-bodied Campbeltown malt. Our aim is to recreate a whisky like [those] produced many years ago.”

The distillery intends to create approximately 30 new jobs in production, warehousing and distribution, and plans to open a visitor centre in the next few years.

Subject to planning approval, production could begin by the final quarter of 2024.

Witchburn is not the only new distillery eyeing up Campbeltown. In February 2022, the owner of Isle of Raasay Distillery revealed plans to build a sustainable single malt whisky distillery in the region after acquiring Dhurrie Farm in Machrihanish.

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