WORK has started on a £10.5 million project to create a whisky distillery and visitor centre on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow city centre.

The team behind the Clydeside Distillery expects to be producing spirits before the end of 2017 at the former pump house building between the Riverside Museum and the SSE Hydro arena.

The new distillery, owned by Morrison Glasgow Distillers, will celebrate the role whisky has played in shaping the heritage of the city and Scotland through distillery tours, whisky tastings and an interactive whisky experience. The site will also have a cafe and shop. It is expected to attract 65,000 visitors per year and create up to 25 jobs when it opens next autumn.

The firm’s chairman, Tim Morrison, who owns bottling firm AD Rattray Scotch Whisky Company, said: “Our vision to build a whisky distillery on the banks of the Clyde, first conceived many years ago, is now set to become a reality.

“Work has started on site and our first batch of spirit should be flowing before the end of next year. The city was once home to many whisky distilleries and we think the Clydeside Distillery will put Glasgow right back on the Scotch whisky map.

“Few people know the historical significance of the iconic pump house building to the Scotch whisky trade. In years gone by, this building controlled the entry bridge into the Queen’s dock, ensuring customs and excise could keep a close eye on goods in and out, including Scotch whisky.

“My great grandfather, John Morrison, built the pump house in 1877 and it gives me great pleasure to now have the opportunity to bring the building back to life, restore it to its former glory and give the building and the surrounding area the respect and status it deserves.”