Plans for multi-million pound distillery hit heritage chief hurdle

Plans for a new multi-million pound distillery on the edge of the Old Town have been downsized after concerns from heritage chiefs.

Edinburgh Gin is announcing plans to invest in a new multi-million-pound distillery in Edinburgh city centre.
Edinburgh Gin is announcing plans to invest in a new multi-million-pound distillery in Edinburgh city centre.

Award-winning spirits brand Edinburgh Gin want to build the tourist attraction after buying up arches on East Market Street.

Revised plans and computer generated images have been drawn up after the initial proposal was deemed too big.

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“We gave guidance that they need to be reduced in scale,” said Nicholas Hotham of Edinburgh World Heritage, the body that helps protect the city’s UNESCO status.

The new distillery is designed to attract visitors keen to learn more about the history of gin-making. Visitors will also have the chance to make their own gin – as well as taste some of the distillery’s own flavours. Architects have designed the new premises with a view to welcoming more than 100,000 visitors through its doors each year. Plans for the three-floor premises include a glass-fronted entrance providing a street-side view of the state-of-the-art stills. Also incorporated is a rooftop terrace featuring Edinburgh Gin botanicals and private gin tasting rooms.

Since launching in 2010, Edinburgh Gin has experienced unprecedented growth and is now seen as one of the industry leaders in flavour innovation. The new distillery will enable the Broxburn-based firm to increase production capacity by over 200 per cent in the face of booming demand.

A working distillery and visitor centre in Rutland Place and the heart of the West End welcomes visitors from all over the world.

Tours of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery have been ranked as one of Edinburgh’s top visitor attractions.

The brand’s core portfolio includes Edinburgh Gin, Seaside Edinburgh Gin and Cannonball Edinburgh Gin. In 2016, the firm opened its second site at the former biscuit factory in Leith – increasing production with a custom-built commercial distillery. A proposal for the new Old Town distillery will be submitted for the approval to the city council’s planning committee.

Neil Mowat, UK Marketing Director of owners Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the evolution of Edinburgh Gin.

“As the ‘No.1 super premium gin brand in the UK’, Edinburgh Gin is in high demand and this investment is our commitment to continued innovation and growth.

“We are confident this will be a stunning distillery that offers a gin experience quite unlike any other.”

The Edinburgh Gin portfolio includes a range of gins and gin liqueurs using flavour and colour to encourage on-going experimentation amongst consumers.

The range encapsulates five gin liqueurs – Plum and Vanilla, Raspberry, Rhubarb and Ginger, Elderflower, Pomegranate and Rose – alongside three London Dry expressions – Classic, Seaside and navy strength Cannonball.

Edinburgh Gin also includes a seasonal Christmas expression which is available for a limited time only. Figures published by HMRC show that British gin exports amounted to £500 million in 2017, with domestic sales of £1.2 billion (the equivalent of 47 million bottles of gin).

Scotland now accounts for 70 per cent of the UK’s gin supply.