Austrian whisky fan pours millions into plans for Inverclyde distillery employing 30 people

Plans for a distillery employing 30 people in Inverclyde have been given the green light following major investment of more than £8 million.

Work is due to commence on Ardgowan Distillery later this year, with first spirit set to be produced in 2023.

The new distillery is being built on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip, some 30 miles west of Glasgow.

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An £8.4m equity investment has been secured for the project, with £7.2m coming from Austrian investor Roland Grain and the balance from new and existing shareholders. It will allow Ardgowan to commence construction of its one-million-litre single malt distillery and visitor centre.

Work is due to commence on Ardgowan Distillery later this year, with first spirit set to be produced in 2023. Picture: Shutterstock/Andriy Petryna
Work is due to commence on Ardgowan Distillery later this year, with first spirit set to be produced in 2023. Picture: Shutterstock/Andriy Petryna

The distillery is also in discussions with a loan provider that will provide additional debt funding for the flagship project in the coming weeks.

Grain is the founder, owner and boss of an eponymous IT company that operates in 17 countries. He has an extensive track record of investment in distilleries.

“My passion for whisky began as a teenager in Austria when I began to collect Scotch whisky and today I am thrilled to become the major shareholder in the Ardgowan Distillery,” he said.

“My wish is for this project to create a lasting connection to the community and produce the highest possible quality whisky and over time achieve the lowest possible CO2 footprint.

“The company founders Martin McAdam, Alan Baker and I have a shared vision of what we can achieve. Already they have built a strong team around them – not least their chairman Willie Phillips and their whisky maker Max McFarlane – and together we will craft the finest quality single malt whisky based on the extraordinary location of the Ardgowan Estate and the unusual microclimate of the Inverkip area.

“My hope is that the distillery will become a landmark building and a significant tourist attraction in the years ahead, and I very much look forward to seeing work commence this year.

“We estimate the distillery and visitor centre will create up to 30 new jobs within five years,” Grain added.

McAdam, chief executive, said: “Roland Grain is a brilliant and passionate cornerstone investor who has global experience in investing in a whole range of spirits businesses. He is a genuine whisky enthusiast who has visited distilleries all over Scotland, and he has a clear vision for the project which is very much aligned with ours; based on place, provenance and people.

“This is terrific news for the project and for Inverclyde. We have put a lot of the uncertainty of Brexit behind us and we hope that Covid will also soon be a distant memory.”

He added: “Over the past few years, we have used the time well to build up our team and craft some fantastic, blended malt whiskies, sourcing some of the finest casks from across Scotland.”

Local MSP Stuart McMillan said: “I welcome this large investment in the Ardgowan Distillery project and my constituency. The Ardgowan Distillery will not only create 30 new jobs but will put Inverclyde on the global whisky map once again.”

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