Whisky Focus - Ardgowan Appoint Contractor For New £20m Zero Carbon Distillery

Ardgowan Appoint Contractor For £20m Zero Carbon Distillery

19th September 2023
Inverkeithing based Muir Construction has been appointed to begin the first phase of Ardgowan Distillery's £20 million “cathedral of whisky”

Ardgowan Distillery artist impression.

Inverclyde’s first zero-carbon whisky distillery, Ardgowan Distillery, has enlisted the services of Muir Construction, based in Inverkeithing, for the commencement of the initial phase of its ambitious £20 million whisky production facility, often referred to as the "cathedral of whisky."

This £7 million contract is anticipated to span a duration of 12 months and will encompass the finalisation of the distillery's primary production components. This significant milestone will empower Ardgowan to commence the production of its own spirit starting in 2024.

The realisation of this first construction phase signifies the culmination of nearly seven years of meticulous planning by the distillery's founders. It represents a monumental step forward in creating an ergonomically designed, energy-efficient distillery and visitor experience. This endeavour is set to generate up to 47 jobs within the local community and produce as much as 1 million litres of premium whisky annually.

The innovative distillery design showcases a commitment to environmental sustainability through the use of low-impact composite cladding, timber, and steel materials. The resulting structure will resemble a contemporary Nordic long hall, symbolising rebirth and emergence from the ashes of the former Ardgowan Distillery in Greenock, which was tragically bombed during the Blitz of 1941.

The distillery's ambitious vision for achieving net-zero emissions incorporates cutting-edge technologies and strategic partnerships with emerging technology developers. These initiatives are aimed at realizing a genuinely carbon-neutral spirit. Ardgowan Distillery has joined forces with Heriot-Watt University and engineering firm Briggs of Burton to develop groundbreaking technology designed to capture all carbon dioxide emissions during the fermentation process and convert them into green biomethane. This pioneering technique has never before been employed within a Scotch whisky distillery.

Martin McAdam, CEO, said: "Partnering with Muir Construction for this first phase of the build is a major and very welcome step forward for us. It was imperative that we selected a contractor who shares the same values for sustainability. Muir’s experience constructing some of the finest Scotch Whisky distilleries open today, coupled with their hand in pioneering Scottish sustainability projects meant they were the perfect fit."

Muir Construction, a division of Muir Group, boasts a well-established presence in the field of distillery construction. Their track record includes successful collaborations with prominent distillery enterprises such as William Grant & Sons, Distell, and Glenmorangie. Additionally, Muir Construction has actively participated in several significant sustainability initiatives, exemplified by their contributions to projects like the Queens Quay Energy Centre in Glasgow and Celtic Renewables.

Alan Muir, joint managing director at Muir Construction, said: "We are delighted to be given the opportunity by Ardgowan Distillery to join the delivery team in what is an exceptional distillery. Not only will this be at the forefront of distilling fine whisky, but it will also be an outstanding statement in visual design, something I’m sure we will all be proud of on completion.

"Our construction team is very excited to get started on the first step in what we are sure will be an excellent ongoing relationship."

To date, a total funding package of £24m has been secured for the project so far, with the distillery recently raising in excess of £3.6m via a convertible loan note to shareholders.

Ardgowan’s multi award winning selection of sherry cask influenced malts recently celebrated a triple gold win at the 2022 Scotch Whisky Awards, their Clydebuilt whisky range is available f
rom specialist online whisky shops such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

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