Secret Herb Garden jobs boost with planned Lothianburn visitor centre and tasting room

A leading distillery in the heart of its own herb garden could be expanded to include its own visitors centre and tasting room under new plans.

Expansion plans: The Secret Herb Garden
Expansion plans: The Secret Herb Garden

The owners of The Secret Herb Garden at Lothianburn say the expansion could create nearly 40 new jobs at the venue over the next two years.

The plans, lodged with Midlothian Council for formal consideration by officials and members, would see an additional still added to its current distillery and visitors centre created.

In their planning statement, The Secret Herb Garden owners said: “These alterations and extensions will improve the low quality and temporary nature of the existing buildings and create an environment which better reflects the premium ‘Secret Garden Gin’ brand and add an aura of permanence and quality to this unique venue.

“The additional still will further enhance the sustainability of the gin brand and further reinforce its ‘garden to bottle’ provenance.”

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The Secret Herb Garden attracts an estimated 20,000 visitors a year to its 7.5-acre site, where it has its herb nursery, shop, cafe and current distillery.

It is a renowned gin producer, popular with spirits enthusiasts for some of its unique distillations and has built up a reputation for quality produce.

The planning application asks for a part change of use to the existing distillery and barn to relocate the existing drying room, office and staff facilities and change part of the barn to enlarge the distillery and create new visitors lobby, tasting area and shop.

A statement from the agents says the drying room will be enclosed in glass as part of the visitors’ experience as they can watch the production process.

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It says that jobs will be created by the expansion, adding: “The proposal will nearly double employment levels at the Secret Garden Distillery from current 34 staff to 47 staff by 2023-24.

“The proposal will also grow more employment at the Secret Herb Garden from current 48 staff to 68 staff during summer by 2023-24.

“This equates to 38 additional new jobs across the business by 2023-24 as a result of the proposed development.”

The planning application is under consideration.

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