Fairytale Scottish castle with key role in D-Day and Downton Abbey earmarked for £25m whisky distillery

“To see Scotch whisky being distilled in the grounds will be a significant positive development.”

A fairytale 15th century castle in Argyll that served as a nerve centre for preparations for D-Day is to see a £25 million whisky distillery built on its grounds, creating more than 20 jobs, if plans secure the green light.

Argyll Estates and European company Stock Spirits Group, owner of the Clan Campbell blended Scotch whisky brand, have lodged paperwork with Argyll and Bute Council to secure planning permission to build the malt whisky distillery at Inveraray Castle, seat of the Duke of Argyll, who is Chief of Clan Campbell. The plan is to name the proposed facility Inveraray Distillery, producing a single malt whisky that could also be used in the Clan Campbell blend.

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Clan Campbell, which was acquired by Stock Spirits Group from Chivas Brothers owner Pernod Ricard in 2023, is described as one of the top Scotch whisky brands in France, and sells 1.2 million nine-litre cases in Europe a year. It has been recently launched in Germany and the Czech Republic, with plans to move into other countries.

The proposal is to build a 950-square-metre distillery, capable of producing up to two million litres of alcohol a year, within the grounds of the castle, and locals will be consulted as part of the planning application notification process.

The distillery will also include a visitor centre that is expected to become a major local tourist attraction, and together with the distillery is predicted to create more than 20 full-time equivalent jobs. The new facilities would be built using local companies and suppliers, with an environmentally friendly approach, subject to planning permission being granted, and construction could start early in 2025 with the first spirit being produced in 2027.

Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, said: “Inveraray Castle and Clan Campbell are inextricably linked, with the castle having been the Argyll family seat since the 15th century. To see Scotch whisky being distilled in the grounds will be a significant positive development – for the local community, for the castle, and for Clan Campbell.”

Jean-Christophe Coutures, chief executive of Stock Spirits Group, said: “Clan Campbell Scotch whisky is an iconic whisky brand that has established strong links with the Duke of Argyll. I am proud that our company has the opportunity to establish a distillery near Inveraray Castle. This investment is an important step for the group towards having its own single malt whisky production, which will strengthen the Clan Campbell brand and Stock Spirits' presence in this growing category.

The proposal is to build a 950-square-metre distillery, capable of producing up to two million litres of alcohol a year, within the grounds of the castle. Picture: contributed.The proposal is to build a 950-square-metre distillery, capable of producing up to two million litres of alcohol a year, within the grounds of the castle. Picture: contributed.
The proposal is to build a 950-square-metre distillery, capable of producing up to two million litres of alcohol a year, within the grounds of the castle. Picture: contributed.

“Our state-of-the-art Inveraray Distillery will be equipped with the latest technologies, including those that are environmentally friendly. Its creation will also benefit the local community in the form of new jobs. We look forward to working with Argyll Estates on this next chapter in the Clan Campbell story.”

Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, but the current design was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, in the 1700s, while a fire in 1877 resulted in adding the third floor and conical roofs on the corner towers. The castle has also hosted the Connect and Best of the West music festivals, and starred in TV series Downton Abbey.

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