DRINKS giant the Edrington Group today announced plans to invest £100 million in a new distillery and visitor centre for The Macallan, one of the world’s leading single malts, in a major boost for the Moray economy.
The company said the creation of a “site of major architectural significance” in the heart of Speyside would consolidate The Macallan’s position as one of the world’s leading luxury spirits. The new distillery at Craigellachie is also expected to create extra capacity to meet the growing demand from existing and new international markets for the malt from the distillery which was founded in 1824.
Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, said: “This is a confident investment in the future of The Macallan and its home on Speyside. Our plan for the estate includes a contemporary distillery that embodies the international style of The Macallan and builds on the brand’s tradition of quality and craftsmanship. As this long-term investment develops it will bring significant employment and economic benefit to the local community.”
A company spokeswoman said: “The Macallan is recognised around the world as the ultimate marque of excellence and innovation , and the new facility will embody these characteristics in a design that complements the natural beauty of the area and The Macallan Estate.
“Creating a site of major architectural significance in the heart of Speyside will consolidate The Macallan’s position as one of the world’s leading luxury spirits. Over time the distillery is expected to deliver additional capacity to meet the growing demand from existing and new international markets.”
Edrington has commissioned leading architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP) to design and build the new distillery and visitor centre. The company has already designed the Pompidou Centre , Lloyd’s of London, the Millennium Dome, and Terminal 5 at Heathrow.
Ken Grier, Edrington’s director of malts, said: “As a leading luxury single malt, it was imperative that we selected an architect that understood and respected the importance of the history of The Macallan but had the experience and skills to create a building that is inspirational in its interpretation of contemporary luxury. In selecting RSHP, we have chosen a partner that shares our values and pushes the boundaries of style and quality.
“Easter Elchies House plays an integral role in the history and future of The Macallan. The proposal from RSHP will retain the integrity and importance of Easter Elchies House and the estate in the future. We are confident that this will give international visitors an outstanding impression of both The Macallan and Scotland and will build on the brand’s position as the definitive luxury spirit.”
Graham Stirk, senior partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners said: “We are delighted to be working with The Macallan to realise their vision for the new distillery. This is a rare and fascinating project
set within a great parkland estate. Our aim will be to reveal both the mystery of the place and the process, within this dramatic setting.“
The massive investment was welcomed by the area’s MP and MSP.
Angus Robertson, the SNP MP for Moray said: “This proposal is huge news for Moray with plans being drawn up for tens of millions of investment in both whisky production at the Macallan distillery and in an iconic world class visitor experience.
“While there are clearly planning processes including public consultation in the coming months this is yet another major announcement from a major player in our iconic malt whisky sector and really underlines the strength of one of Moray’s most important employment sectors.”
He continued: “Not only does whisky production provide high skilled work both at distilleries and with high skill employers like Forsyths but it is also right at the heart of Moray’s visitor experience, attracting tens of thousands of people to our region every year. This is a hugely significant announcement the impact of which should not be underestimated.”
Richard Lochhead, the MSP for Moray, said: “Whisky is a mainstay of the Scottish economy and Speyside is the heart and soul of that industry. The amount being invested in the sector to expand production, in storage facilities and in visitor facilities is running into the hundreds of millions with Macallan’s announcement being one of the biggest single investments.
“This traditional industry is not only vital to Moray but it is also one of Scotland’s most recognisable products with brands like Macallan being ambassadors for Scotland throughout the world. The positive impact of ongoing growth and investment in whisky is of huge significance in Moray and is a major source of employment both directly and indirectly.”
He added: “Macallan’s plans are very exciting indeed and demonstrate huge confidence for the future.”
Subject to planning consent, work on the project will begin in autumn 2014 and is due to be completed in spring 2017.
Councillor John Cowe, chairman of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, said the new distillery and visitor centre would have “significant economic spin-offs “ for the area.
He said: “Macallan is an iconic brand known the world over and we are privileged that its home is here in Moray. This is an exciting announcement and I wish the company all the very best with this visionary development in Moray’s whisky heartland.”
He added: “Tourism is one of the area’s economic strengths and the creation of what will be a state-of-the-art visitor centre promises to attract visitors from all over the world to Moray.”