Whisky Focus - Dal Riata Distillery Construction Gets The Go Ahead

Dal Riata Distillery Construction Gets The Go Ahead

18th September 2023
Planning has been approved for Dal Riata distillery in Campbeltown.

Dal Riata distillery in Campbeltown artist impression.

Argyll & Bute Council has granted planning permission to Dal Riata Distillery Ltd for the construction of a brand-new distillery named 'Dal Riata' situated along the shores of Campbeltown Loch. This multifaceted development will encompass a Distillery, museum, visitor centre, and retail outlet.

With a substantial investment of £4.5 million in this independent venture, approximately 20 local residents will find employment opportunities. Dal Riata Distillery Ltd has also committed to offering trainee positions to individuals aspiring to forge careers in the thriving Scotch Whisky industry.

The moniker 'Dal Riata' (The Kingdom of Alba) harks back to the 6th and 7th Centuries, encompassing regions such as Argyll, Kintyre, Islay, Jura, Mull, Ardnamurchan, Cowal, and a northeastern portion of Ireland. The distillery's barley for their own single malt Scotch Whisky will be cultivated at Dunadd Fort, which served as the capital of Dal Riata.

The brainchild behind the establishment of Dal Riata emerges from the passion of two dedicated whisky enthusiasts, namely Iain Croucher, the founder and proprietor of independent whisky bottlers North Star Spirits, and the accomplished business entrepreneur Ronnie Grant.

Dal Raita Distillery Director Iain Croucher said: "To be working within Scotch Whisky is beyond a blessing. The ladies and gents that came before who created such as strong and powerful industry, which we are now custodians, comes with great responsibility. We must preserve this vital global asset for future generations to enjoy and thrive".

Dal Raita Distillery Director Ronnie Grant said: "Gaining planning permission is a massive step forward in fulfilling our dream to bring a new distillery to Campbeltown. We have been humbled by the positive reaction we have received from both local people and the wider whisky community. Campbeltown is a special little place which is certainly on the up and we can't wait to become a part of its bright future."

Charlie Maclean MBE, Master of the Quaich said: "Campbeltown holds an important and special place in the history of Scotch Whisky. Two hundred years ago, some 25 distilleries were producing 748,000 gallons (3.5 million litres) of spirit according to The Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland. In recent times the number of operating distilleries has significantly dwindled, but the news that The Dal Riata Distillery has been granted planning permission is splendid. Iain Croucher and his team know their whiskies. This they have proved by winning the title ‘Independent Bottler of The Year’ on more than one occasion. I have every confidence that The Dal Riata Distillery will produce magnificent liquid worthy of carrying forward Campbeltown’s legacy to a new generation of whisky lovers."

As Campbeltown enjoys a surge in popularity among tourists, the owners of Dal Riata are committed to paying tribute to the town's rich history by integrating a museum into the visitor centre. This museum will be dedicated to narrating the town's extensive and illustrious connection with whisky distillation.

The distillery itself will boast a striking glass frontage, affording visitors a view of the two prominent copper stills in action as they craft whisky. Additionally, a raised balcony will not only provide breathtaking vistas of Campbeltown Loch but will also serve as an exquisite venue for premium events and tastings.

A currently vacant shop located on Longrow, adjacent to the site, will undergo transformation into a multifunctional visitor centre, encompassing conference facilities and a tasting room. Furthermore, careful planning within the proposed distillery structure will allow for potential expansion of production without necessitating an extension of the existing footprint.

Looking ahead, the distillery's long-term vision includes the establishment of a warehouse at Machrihanish Airport dedicated to cask storage. This facility is envisioned to encompass bottling and storage capabilities for private clients as well.


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