Work on reviving the famed lowland distillery at Rosebank has now resumed.
After months of inactivity due to the coronavirus outbreak and a collapsed wall, this month will see a major change take place at the site in Falkirk, which was bought .
Rosebank closed in 1993 after 150 years of producing malt whisky by the banks of the Forth & Clyde canal. It was bought in 2017 by Ian Macleod Distillers, which also owns Tamdhu and Glengoyne, and are determined to restore Rosebank to its former glory, and rebuild the distillery right down to the last rivet in its stills.
Leonard Russell, MD of owners Ian Macleod Distillers, said: ‘I’m not surprised if passers by have thought “What’s going on? It looks like it’s completely stopped?”
‘We never had cold feet about the project. What happened was that when digging a pit to deal with drainage on site, a wall fell down. We got further surveys done and concluded that we had the opportunity to revisit the design.
‘With builders not allowed on site, it gave us breathing space to reapply for planning permission and create something even better. Our objective is still to make Rosebank as fabulous as it can possibly be.’
Construction company ISG’s Benjamin Mawby said: ‘From a builder’s point of view, it’s a fantastic outcome. And from an architectural point of view, I think it’s going to be stunning. You will still have the history there with the malt building, the chimney and what we know as the original warehouse.’
Looking ahead to developments this month, Benjamin said: ‘Youre going to see some excavators arrive, and some large eight-wheel lorries removing material and beinging in aggregate, concrete and inforcement steel.
“We’re going to dog down to what we call the formation level to start laying the foundations to suppor thte distillery building. And at peak, there’ll probably be 10-15 people working on the ground.’
Initially, the work will be fidden behind a two-metre hoarding to be covered in images of the Rosebank Rose and a pencil illustration of how the new distillery will look, and the steel frame will begin to rise.
After being mothballed in the 1990s by former owner UDV (now Diageo), in 2002 the site was sold to British Waterways who owned the Forth & Clyde canal and the old maltings were converted into flats.
Six years later, in what seemed to be the final death knell, thieves broke in and stole the three pot stills and the mash tun.
This was where the new owners stepped in and rescued it in the nick of time before it could be bulldozed into history.