Whisky Focus - Rosebank Distillery Granted Planning Permission

Rosebank Distillery Granted Planning Permission

29th January 2019
Rosebank Distillery redevelopment gets the go-ahead and is scheduled to commence distillation and open to visitors around Autumn 2020.

Artists impression of Rosebank Distillery roadside view of still house.

Following on from the planning application which they submitted to Falkirk council, Ian Macleod Distillers has been given the go-ahead to start work on its multi-million pound redevelopment of the Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk.

The planning application which they lodged back in June 2018 was followed by an extensive public consultation process, Falkirk Council has now given the green light to the Rosebank restoration, which is one of the most respected and sought-after Lowland single malt whiskies which is widely known to whisky enthusiasts as the ‘King of the Lowlands’.

Originally established back in 1840, Rosebank ceased production in 1993 when former owner UDV (now Diageo), mothballed the site and its malting's were converted into a restaurant.

After 25 years of lying dormant, the extensive work to revitalise the Distillery is now expected to begin shortly. This will generate 25 full time equivalent jobs for the local economy when it commences distillation and opens to visitors around Autumn 2020.

Fans of the Lowland malt will be pleased to hear that Ian MacLeod intend to stay true to the Rosebank triple distilled production process and intend to produce the aromatic, floral Lowland style of whisky which whisky enthusiasts have grown to love.

Situated on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal, the revived Rosebank Distillery hopes to attract around 50,000 visitors a year to Falkirk and will offer a wide range of distillery tours, with some featuring the very last drams of Rosebank distilled prior to the distillery’s 1993 closure.

Artists impression of Rosebank Distillery Forth & Clyde canal side view of distillery.

Plans include a new circa 1,000-square metre contemporary and energy-efficient distillery with a production capacity of up to one million litres of alcohol per year. The iconic Rosebank chimney will remain in place and other historically significant canal side buildings will be retained and refurbished for use as a visitor centre, tasting room, shop and warehouse space.

Leonard Russell, Managing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of Rosebank, said: "We’re delighted to have reached this significant milestone of the Rosebank redevelopment project. To bring back to life an iconic distillery and quintessential Lowland single malt is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"Our investment goes beyond production. We’re proud to be investing in Falkirk by adding to the town’s flourishing economy and tourism scene with a new Rosebank Visitor Centre, to help tell the story of this remarkable whisky.

"Rosebank Distillery has a very special place in Scotland’s whisky heritage and we’re committed to ensuring this remains the case. We will strive to replicate the unique Rosebank style by once more employing the unique techniques of triple distillation and worm tub condensers, for which this iconic Lowland single malt is famed."

Following planning approval from Falkirk Council, Ian Macleod is purchasing the Rosebank site from its current owners, Scottish Canals.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals for their support of our vision to revive Rosebank Distillery. The backing from both parties has brought our vision to life and enabled the smooth running of this initial phase of the project. We look forward to continuing these relationships as we progress through the next stages.", added Russell.

Councillor David Alexander, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development said: "It’s great to see the Rosebank Distillery coming back into use and this large investment on the site is to be welcomed. We’ve worked closely with Scottish Canals and Ian Macleod Distillers to ensure that this site can become a great tourist attraction as well as bringing investment to the local economy and new employment opportunities. We look forward to seeing this historic site transformed and producing whisky that will be recognised across the world."

Obviously it will be some time before any of us whisky lovers will get the chance to taste any of the new whisky which will be produced at the yet to be resurrected Rosebank distillery, will the distillery keep its ‘King of the Lowlands’ crown, only time will tell but not only did Ian Macleod Distillers acquire the Rosebank brand but also the last remaining stocks from former owners, Diageo. The company expects to use this limited Rosebank whisky for a small number of releases from 2019, distilled in the last few years before Rosebank Distillery closed its doors in 1993.

I will certainly let you know when I hear of the release of any of these scarce Rosebank whiskies, so watch this space. Meanwhile, if your pockets are deep enough, you can still occasionally find some old Rosebank bottlings available from specialist online whisky shops such as Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

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