Main contractor appointed for first phase of £20m Inverclyde Distillery


Inverclyde’s first zero-carbon whisky distillery, Ardgowan Distillery, has appointed Inverkeithing based Muir Construction to begin the first phase of its £20 million “cathedral of whisky”. 

The £7m contract is expected to last 12 months and will see the completion of the distillery’s main production elements, enabling Ardgowan to begin producing its own spirit from 2024. 

This first build phase represents the culmination of almost 7 years’ careful planning for the distillery founders, marking a huge milestone in the ergonomic, energy efficient distillery and visitor experience, which will create up to 47 local jobs and produce up to 1m litres of premium whisky per year. 

The innovative distillery design uses low environmental impact composite cladding, timber and steel materials to create a modern Nordic long hall, symbolising resurrection and rising from the ashes of the former Ardgowan Distillery in Greenock, which was bombed during the 1941 Blitz. 

The ambitious plans for the new net-zero distillery include cutting-edge technologies and partnerships with new technology developers to deliver a truly carbon-neutral spirit. The distillery has partnered with Heriot-Watt University and engineers Briggs of Burton to develop technology to capture all of the CO2 in its fermentation process and transform it into green biomethane – a technique which has never been used in a Scotch whisky distillery before. 

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, part of Muir Group, are established in distillery construction, previously working with a number of major distillery companies, including William Grant & Sons, Distell and Glenmorangie. They have also worked on a number of key sustainability projects, including 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.”

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 from specialist retailers across the UK.

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. 

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