Rescued Bladnoch distillery to target sales in Australia

A Scotch whisky distillery bought out from administrators last year after being in disuse since 2009 aims to double production as its new owner sets about re-establishing the brand in the UK and taking it to Australia.

Australian entrepreneur David Prior rescued Bladnoch Distillery last year. Picture: Contributed
Australian entrepreneur David Prior rescued Bladnoch Distillery last year. Picture: Contributed

Bladnoch Distillery in Galloway was bought by Australian entrepreneur David Prior last July, and the group revealed yesterday that its twin-pronged drive would be supported by a £3 million asset-based lending deal with Royal Bank of Scotland.

Prior said: “We see great opportunity in Scotch whisky. It’s a strong category and there is room for innovation. We have big plans for the future of the company, but initially we are concentrating on getting the Bladnoch Distillery fully operational, increasing brand awareness in the UK and launching products across Australia.”

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The Wigtownshire single malt distiller said the facility – secured against its maturing whisky casks – would free up working capital to support the business’s new strategy.

The distillery will be fully operational within the next 18 months. Bladnoch was originally established in 1817, and is one of the oldest whisky producers in the area.

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Since the acquisition, the distillery has launched a new blended whisky called Pure Scot, which it describes as “a contemporary product aimed at a modern, younger generation of whisky drinkers”.

It said it was also working on various iterations of Bladnoch’s signature single malts that have been maturing at the distillery over the past six to 28 years.

Prior said: “I’m really thrilled to be able to invest into Bladnoch and bring this wonderful 200-year old distillery back to life.

“Giving the distillery a vision for the future so it’s once again the centrepiece for the community is something I’m hugely passionate about – so we can bring back the region’s vibrancy and have Bladnoch a bigger generator of income for this region.”

Allan Jackson, RBS asset based lending’s corporate development director, said: “Bladnoch Distillery is a very reputable Scotch producer and it is great that David has been able to rescue the brand from falling by the wayside.

“I am pleased that we have been able to support the company with its plans to re-launch in the UK and its entry into the Australian market.”

Prior made his fortune in the family’s food packaging company Baroda before selling it in 2007.

Gavin Hewitt, former head of the Scotch Whisky Association, is non-executive director at Bladnoch Distillery. He has said the distillery will “provide a stimulus for the local economy”.