Town tipped for ‘whisky renaissance’ as second new distillery announced

Dál Riata Distillery's still house will incorporate curtain-wall glazing with a viewing balcony providing sweeping views of Campbeltown Loch
Dál Riata Distillery's still house will incorporate curtain-wall glazing with a viewing balcony providing sweeping views of Campbeltown Loch

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Campbeltown could see a ‘whisky renaissance’ as plans for a second new distillery in the world-famous whisky-producing region have been announced.

Less than a week after the news that R&B Distillers has purchased Dhurrie Farm to build The Machrihanish Distillery, developers have revealed plans to build Dál Riata Distillery in the heart of Campbeltown.

Dál Riata will have the capacity to produce 850,000 litres of spirit annually, using barley grown at Dunadd Hillfort, near Lochgilphead.

This area was the capital of the ancient Scottish and Irish Dál Riata kingdom, from which the distillery takes its name.

This will provide inspiration for creating a spirit and whisky fitting to the style and traditions of the region.

Plans for the distillery, which will be situated adjacent to Diamond Vault and will reach from 64 Longrow to Kinloch Road, have been submitted to Argyll and Bute Council for pre-approval by Bowman Stewart Architects of Lochgilphead.

The distillery’s still house will incorporate curtain-wall glazing with a viewing balcony providing sweeping views of Campbeltown Loch.

In addition, a retail and visitor centre will be situated on Longrow, adjacent to the distillery.

Behind the plans are directors Iain Croucher, founder and owner of award-winning bottling company North Star Spirits; Ronnie Grant, owner and managing director of RB Grant Ltd, with more than 25 years’ experience in the construction industry; and David Stirk, founder and previous owner of Creative Whisky Co Ltd and author of The Distilleries of Campbeltown.

All three are said to have a ‘deep-rooted’ passion for Campbeltown whisky.

Mr Stirk researched, wrote and published his book while living in Campbeltown between 2001 and 2004.

At the time, he worked for J&A Mitchell & Co, the company that operates Springbank and Glengyle distilleries, two of Campbeltown’s three existing distilleries, alongside Glen Scotia.

Mr Croucher said: ‘Dál Riata Distillery will be much more than just a single malt whisky production facility; it will be friends and family, it will be business, it will be social and, believe us, it will be fun.

‘A distillery is nothing without its supporters. To be able to connect with people around a table discussing our production methods, wood policy or our maturation strategy, or simply to catch up with old friends, I can only imagine will be the most magical whisky experience.

‘The addition of this distillery to the Campbeltown region will reinforce the town’s place in the story of Scotch and Dál Riata will be a new chapter to an already incredible history.’

Welcoming the news, South Kintyre councillor Donald Kelly said: ‘The whisky industry continues to be a vital part of the bedrock which helps sustain our fragile economy and we owe a great debt to Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia for their continual investment and development of their existing facilities.

‘Their success has made it much more attractive for new investors to consider moving to Campbeltown.

‘As always, I am keen to support all businesses which will bring much-needed sustainable jobs to the area, therefore, I welcome the application for planning permission from the new Dál Riata Distillery.’

Councillor John Armour added: ‘This new venture can only help the local economy and bring much-needed employment.

‘It and the other recently announced new distillery will also attract more visitors to the area and enhance the already well-established whisky festival in the town.’