The Macallan launched its new distillery and visitor experience at the weekend.
The new distillery and visitor experience is located on the stunning Easter Elchies estate, which has been home to the leading luxury single malt since 1824. From humble beginnings, the brand has risen to become the leading international single malt by value and enjoys leading positions in some of the world’s most significant Scotch whisky markets including the USA, Taiwan, and Japan.
It is the first distillery on Speyside to be designed by an internationally acclaimed architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, who were selected to lead the project after an international competition.
Edrington is investing £500 million in the brand of which the £140 million distillery is the centrepiece. This programme increases investment in whisky, warehousing, and particularly in The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.
The project was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014. The first whisky ran through the stills in December last year and the visitor experience opened its doors to the public on Saturday, 2 June. It is expected that visitor numbers will double in the first year and continue to rise thereafter.
The new distillery will enable production of The Macallan to increase by a third if required. The new stills were crafted by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.
Elgin-based Robertson Construction has delivered the complex architectural design, working with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life. During construction, up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades were employed on site.
The striking piece of contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land, taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills and maximising the aesthetic beauty of the building whilst minimising the visual impact on the Speyside landscape, which has been classified as an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’.
The undulating timber roof structure is one of the most complicated timber roof structures in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components.
Ian Curle, chief executive, Edrington, said: ‘This is an exciting occasion for Edrington and The Macallan. The unsurpassed quality of The Macallan is in high demand and we face the future confidently with this new distillery. It’s an authentic, abiding, ambitious investment that will match consumer expectations for generations to come.
‘We expect this new Macallan enterprise to deliver significant benefits for the tourism industry, Scotch whisky exports, and the economy.’
Ken Grier, creative director, The Macallan, added: ‘As The Macallan has grown globally it has been very important that we make sure we can sustain demand for this wonderful amber liquid. We’ve taken exceptional care in making sure that the spirit that is produced in the new distillery is identical to the spirit that we produced in our previous distillery.
‘This is the beginning of a really exciting new chapter in the evolution of this wonderful brand that is The Macallan.”
The project has taken three years and six months to complete. The roof is one of the most complicated timber structures in the world, comprising 1800 single beams, 2500 different roof elements, and 380,000 individual components, almost none of which are equal or the same.
The new distillery will allow production of The Macallan to increase by approximately a third.
Graham Stirk, senior partner and lead architect at Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, concluded: ‘The Macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely.
‘The vision was always ambitious but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something so dramatic and awe-inspiring. It has been an honour to play our part in shaping the next chapter for The Macallan.’