Spirited plans for former lemonade factory

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Plans have been submitted for a former lemonade factory on Islay to reopen – only this time the drinks it makes will be a bit stronger.

The Vintage Malt Whisky Company wants to reopen the old lemonade factory in Port Ellen, previously used by Hasties, as a distillery producing rum and gin.

The purpose-built soft drinks facility was opened on the island during the 1950s and is thought to have remained open for that purpose until the 1980s or 1990s.

The business was then taken over by soft drinks manufacturer Dunns, who later used it as a distribution warehouse, before it was closed in 2016.

It has lain vacant since then.

A decision by Argyll and Bute Council’s planning department on the plans, drawn up by Bowman Stewart architects, is expected in early 2020.

A statement in support of the plans says: ‘At some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the business was taken over by Dunns Lemonade, now Dunns Food and Drink Ltd.

‘When the factory stopped producing soft drinks, the building became a storage and distribution hub on Islay.

‘Dunns operated a warehouse depot, distributing drinks, crisps and the like to catering establishments on the island.

‘The depot closed permanently in June 2016 and the building has been vacant since then.

‘The proposal is to renovate and carry out internal operations to the existing building for use as a micro-distillery for the small scale production of rum and gin, providing new employment for two people.

‘Production levels will be 500 to 750 litres of alcohol per week.’