£1 million boost to build world class distillery and visitor centre

A project to build a new world-class lowland malt whisky distillery and visitor centre has received a £1 million boost.

The Ardgowan Distillery in Inverkip, Renfrewshire, secured £982,000 from the Scottish Government’s Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) grant scheme – providing vital capital towards construction costs.

The award was announced today (Wednesday) by Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, at the AgriScot exhibition in Edinburgh.

The distillery now plans to commence construction next year – with ambitious plans for a world-leading lowland malt whisky distillery by 2020.

The site of the proposed new Ardgowan Distillery

Distillery chief executive officer Martin McAdam said: ‘The Scotch whisky industry supports over 40,000 jobs in Scotland, and is a vital component of Scotland’s ambitious food and drink growth strategy.

‘This £12 million project will move Inverclyde up the rankings for food and drink production in Scotland. During construction the project will support 35 jobs and contribute over £2 million to the local economy.’

Once up and running, the distillery will create six new full-time jobs, with up to 15 additional jobs in the visitor centre and retail operations, with around 47 further jobs created in the wider economy during the first five years.

Martin continued: ‘We are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government for their generous support, and to all others who have backed the project so far, especially the local community for their enthusiasm and encouragement.’

The Ardgowan Distillery is planning an expansion

The distillery has already received full planning consent for the project, which will transform a former sawmill on estate land near Inverkip.

Earlier this year the distillery appointed industry veteran Willie Phillips – who spearheaded The Macallan malt whisky for 18 years – as chairman of the business.

Phillips was managing director of The Macallan from 1978 until the company was bought by Highland Distillers in 1996. During this period, Phillips helped establish The Macallan single malt as an international brand.

Since then the distillery has appointed former Bruichladdich and Springbank director Gordon Wright as advisor on commercial development and sales, while global distilling expert Professor Michael Eagan will review the new plant’s process engineering design.

The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirt and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.