Edrington’s £100m distillery for The Macallan

WHISKY producer Edrington today unveiled plans to build a £100 million distillery and visitors’ centre on its Macallan estate in Speyside, marking the latest in a string of massive investments in the Scotch sector.

An artist's impression of the new distillery. Picture: submitted
An artist's impression of the new distillery. Picture: submitted

The Glasgow-based company – which also owns the Cutty Sark, Famous Grouse and Highland Park brands – said work could begin next autumn if it is granted planning permission.

The distillery and visitors’ centre – designed by architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (RSHP) – could be up and running in 2017. RSHP has worked on projects including Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, the Lloyd’s of London building and the Millennium Dome.

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Edrington chief executive Ian Curle told The Scotsman in Junethat he planned to invest in production but today outlined the massive scale of his plans for The Macallan.

“This is a confident investment in the future of The Macallan and its home on Speyside,” Curle said. “As this long-term investment develops, it will bring significant employment and economic benefit to the local community.”

Edrington – which also owns Brugal rum and Snow Leopard vodka – remained tight-lipped over the size of the new distillery but said the existing production plant would close when the new one opens. The current facility can produce ten million litres of alcohol.

Rising demand for Scotch in the United States and in emerging markets in Asia and South America has triggered a string of major investments by distillery owners.

In April, Diageo – the biggest Scotch distiller and maker of Bell’s, Johnnie Walker and Talisker – selected Teaninich near Alness in Easter Ross as the site for its next £50m “super-distillery”, following on from the opening of the £40m Roseisle facility near Elgin in 2010.

If it is granted planning permission, work on Teaninich will get underway next year, with the plant designed to produce 13 million litres. Roseisle can also pump out ten million litres.

The FTSE 100 giant last year announced plans to spend £1 billion on its Scotch business over five years, including £500m of extra stock.

French spirits giant Pernod Ricard – which owns Paisley-based Chivas Brothers, Scotland’s second-largest distiller and the maker of Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute – is building a facility at Carron, on Speyside, at a site previously occupied by the Imperial distillery. Chivas has already re-opened its Glen Keith site and is expanding Glenallachie, Glentauchers, Longmorn and Tormore.

Earlier this week, Diageo offered to sell the bulk of Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay, the rival distiller owned by Indian group United Spirits, in which Diageo bought a controlling stake earlier this year.

Diageo has offered to sell most of Whyte & Mackay in order to satisfy competition concerns raised by the Office of Fair Trading after retailers warned the takeover would harm the UK’s blended whisky market.