The futuristic £140million new home of one of the world’s top whiskies bring a huge boost attracting 30,000 visitors in its first year.
Cut into a slope above Craigellachie, yards from Easter Elchies House where the world-famous Speyside brand was founded nearly 200 years ago, The Macallan’s strikingly modern distillery and visitor centre will open to the public at the end of next week.
Last night it was hailed as “breathtakingly stunning” by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who predicted it would rapidly become a globally-renowned attraction.
Details of the building, which is virtually invisible from nearby roads, have been kept a closely guarded secret by the Macallan’s owners, Glasgow-based international premium spirits company Edrington, throughout six years of planning and building.
It is the first distillery on Speyside to be designed by internationally-acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners.
Edrington’s chief executive, Ian Curle, described the design as a work of “genius”.
Landscaped with grass to minimise visual impact on scenery designated an “area of great landscape value,” the building’s undulating timber roof is one of the most complicated structures of its kind in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components.
Inside, visitors will be offered guided tours of the new distilling facilities, with a range of interactive exhibits, illustrating the “six pillars” underpinning production of Macallan whisky.
In its last season Macallan’s former visitor centre attracted 15,000 visitors and the company said it expected that number to double during the new facility’s first year and continue to rise.
Laurie Piper, operations manager for Moray Speyside Tourism, said its opening would be “nothing short of transformational for Moray Speyside.”
He added: “It will attract huge numbers of additional visitors to the area to see the building and to enjoy the visitor experience. Those visitors will stay longer and spend more and the entire region will benefit.”
Around 60 jobs have already been created at the new development, which is part of a £500million investment by Edrington in the Macallan brand.
Chief executive Mr Curle said: “This is an exciting occasion for Edrington and The Macallan. The unsurpassed quality of The Macallan is in high demand and we face the future confidently with this new distillery. It’s an authentic, abiding, ambitious investment that will match consumer expectations for generations to come.
“When the doors open in June, we expect this new Macallan enterprise to deliver significant benefits for the tourism industry, Scotch whisky exports, and the economy.”
Moray MSP Mr Lochhead said: “I was absolutely awestruck by the breathtakingly stunning new Macallan distillery that will no doubt soon be a world renowned attraction, providing a huge boost for Speyside.
“The scale and ambition of this prestigious new distillery and visitor centre amounts to a bold, confident global statement by the Edrington Group who deserve enormous praise for their vision.
“Along with massive investment across the rest of whisky industry in Speyside, this iconic and unique addition cements the region’s reputation as the home of Scotch whisky and in itself will lead to a tourist boom as well as many new jobs at Easter Elchies.”
Local MP Douglas Ross also welcomed the development, and said: “This huge investment in Moray by The Macallan will be a great boost to the local economy and a superb addition to our whisky tourism experience. Local businesses have been at the forefront of its construction and the unique design that has now been completed is one everyone involved should rightly be proud of.
“The distillery and visitor centre are a real game changer for The Macallan, the Scotch Whisky industry, and the local economy and I am know it will attract people from near and far.”