ARDGOWAN Distillery has announced plans for a new bespoke centre for Blackwoods gin at their Inverkip site following a loan of up to £5million from UK drinks specialists Distil plc.
An initial tranche of £3million has been approved by shareholders of the London-listed firm, with the potential of an additional follow-on loan of up to £2 million.
The new loan funds will support the distillery’s development until their first whisky matures in 2028 and will kick-start the Blackwoods gin plans.
Starting this year, Ardgowan will now build a £400,000 custom gin plant –- using existing buildings on the Bankfoot site -– to create a home for Distil’s Blackwoods gin, an established award-winning small batch gin infused with Scottish botanicals.
The site will include production facilities and visitor centre. The first gin will come on stream next year and the facility will create four to five long-term local jobs.
Ardgowan Distillery had already announced in June an £8.4 million equity investment in the business, led by majority shareholder Roland Grain, which enables the company to commence construction of their 1million litre single malt distillery and visitor centre, due to start production in 2023.
Roland Grain, director of investments at Ardgowan Distillery, said: “We are excited that Distil has chosen Ardgowan Distillery as the home for Blackwoods gin. The historical context of the Ardgowan Estate provides the perfect location for this award-winning spirit which is made traditionally using selected Scottish botanicals.
“Once complete this will be more than just a production facility; it will provide an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the world of gin and we plan for this to be integrated fully into the distillery visitor experience at Inverkip.”
He added: “We plan to recruit local people, and we will also expand the number of local suppliers that we use.
“My colleagues are already working with Inverclyde Community Development Trust and we hope we can continue working with them to provide training opportunities for local people who will become part of the Ardgowan team.
“Our goal is to build a world-class whisky distillery and visitor centre which will attract visitors and bring economic and social benefits to Inverclyde. With this latest announcement we are now well on our way.
“We hope to finalise the final critical part of the funding package over the coming months.”
Don Goulding, executive chairman at Distil, said: “Creating a home for Blackwoods has been a longstanding goal for us to help bring the brand to life, and we believe that Ardgowan is the perfect place to do this.
“Our deal with Ardgowan and the Blackwoods facilities will provide the opportunity to add significant growth to the business in both the long and short term by allowing us to accelerate new product development across our existing portfolio as well as creating new brands, driving the business forward into the next stage of development.
“We very much look forward to kicking off our partnership and working closely with the team on creating both the site and fantastic new liquids that will follow.”