Staff and directors of the historic Speyburn distillery celebrated the completion of a £5million investment which has more than doubled production.
The distillery, which was built in 1897 in a small leafy glen on the edge of Rothes in Speyside, is now the largest in the group run by Inver House Distillers.
The expansion, which took two years to complete, involved a sensitive restoration of several of the facility’s historic buildings with the latest in energy efficient technology.
The work was led by distillery manager Bobby Anderson, who involved local contractors in the redevelopment and expansion. The distillery also boasts a new copper still and mash tun manufactured by the distillery’s close neighbour in the Moray village, Forsyths.
The distillery produces a 10-year-old Speyburn which is among the top ten selling single malts in the US. Other expressions include a limited edition single malt exclusive to the US market, Arranta Casks. The firm is also set to launch a 15-year old single malt.
The firm, which is owned by multi-billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi through his Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) group, has set its sights on tackling emerging markets for growth is whisky sales, including India and Kazakhstan.
Graham Stevenson, managing director of Inver House said: “The long term demographics for the emerging world are heavily in our favour. We have to positions ourselves to exploit that opportunity when it arrives.”
Martin Leonard, operations director at Inver House paid tribute to the distillery team as they gathered to celebrate with a dinner and dram on Thursday.
He said: “Over the past two years we have seen a remarkable transformation of Speyburn Distillery. Our beautiful, very traditional site has been enhanced and developed for the future, very much in the spirit of our founder John Hopkins who made the great use of the natural resources here in Rothes, most importantly the Granty Burn, the natural stone and the compact space.
“We want to thank Bobby Anderson and the full distillery team for all their hard work in delivering this ambitious investment and putting so much of their personal vision and skill into the project. We now have a distillery that will support our growth plans for Speyburn and our environmental objectives and we are proud of that achievement.”
Other distilleries in the group are Pulteney in Wick, Balblair on the Dornoch firth near Tain, and two further Speyside facilities, Knockdhu and Balmenach which also produces Caorunn gin.