A MODERN distillery design aims to create a "cathedral of whisky" that will be carbon negative in its operation.

The stunning plans for the landmark Ardgowan Distillery and visitor centre are hoped to begin construction in 2022 for the site in the Inverkip area of Inverclyde.

The plans supersede a previous design for the site on the Ardgowan Estate that secured planning permission from Inverclyde Council in 2019. 

The new design uses materials like timber, steel and composite cladding with a low environmental impact to create a light-filled modern Nordic long hall.

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The company is also working with specialist distillery engineers Briggs of Burton to ensure the flagship building has the latest innovations in energy reduction, heat recovery and carbon capture.

It is hoped that the distillery and visitor centre will be completed and operational by 2023 on the site 30 miles west of Glasgow.

Estimates from the company indicate that the project will create up to 47 new jobs within five years.

The project was confirmed to go ahead in June following new investment of £8.4 million led by principal investor Roland Grain (below).

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Grain is hoping that, once complete, the distillery and visitor centre will put the area "firmly on the tourist map".

He said: "My passion for whisky began as a teenager in Austria when I began to collect Scotch whisky and my wish is for this project to create the highest possible quality whisky and a lasting connection to the community in Inverclyde.

“Central to this is our innovative building – designed by leading Austrian architects Spitzbart and Partners. This very modern Nordic long hall is pointing skyward, symbolising resurrection and our rise from the ashes of the former Ardgowan Distillery, which burned down in the Greenock Blitz in May 1941, and also our ambition to become one of the top whiskies in the world.

“I hope it will stand out as a ‘cathedral to whisky’ and put this corner of Inverclyde firmly on the tourist map.

“Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and in 2019 Greenock welcomed more than 100,000 cruise ship visitors, so I believe there is a great opportunity to draw people here with a first-class food, drink and retail experience.”

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The plans have also been welcomed by Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan who said: “I have been fully supportive of the proposal to establish the Ardgowan Distillery in Inverkip. This distillery will be a fantastic addition for Inverclyde and will become a major tourism attraction.  I wish the project every success and look forward to seeing the distillery open for business.”

Distillery CEO Martin McAdam said: “This project will be a major boost to the local economy – both during construction and in operation. We estimate the distillery and visitor centre will create up to 47 new jobs within five years.

“We have already made our first local hire – our Production Coordinator Matt Blair is from Greenock – and we will be advertising construction tenders early next year.

“We have a very strong commitment to employing locally. Already we work with Gourock property specialists Bowman Rebecchi and Port Glasgow suppliers Scotcrest, and our ambition is to use local firms and employees as much as we can.

“Our goal is to build a world-class whisky distillery and visitor centre which will attract tourists and bring economic and social benefits to Inverclyde.”