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PICTURES: First look at expansion project for Speyside distillery aimed at increasing capacity and visitor experience

Artist impression of the Aberlour Distillery project.
Artist impression of the Aberlour Distillery project.

The first images of an extensive revamp of a Speyside distillery, devised to keep pace with global demand, have been released.

Chivas Brothers wants to “remodel and re-build” its Aberlour Distillery as part of a vision to produce more of Scotland’s national drink.

A new boiler house, still house, tun room and mash room have all been proposed as part of the vast project.

However, Chivas also wants to use the chance to improve access for tourists with dedicated routes for visitors, a new car park and easier access for disabled people.

Huge windows will be created as part of the new still house to allow visitors to look out to the Lour Burn, which is the distillery’s water source, as well as nearby woods.

Artist impression of Aberlour Distillery project.

Gordon Buist, production director at the firm, explained the expansion was aimed at “increasing capacity and improving infrastructure” when the initial plans were submitted in August.

Now final proposals have been submitted to Moray Council planners to get approval for construction to begin.

Drawings in a report prepared by consultants Norr explained the current site layout has “very limited” parking for visitors with walking routes creating a potential conflict with HGVs.

Meanwhile, efforts will also be made to showcase as much of the original 19th Century framework as possible.

The report states: “The design attempts to peel away the later layers to expose as much of the original fabric that can be meaningfully reincorporated into the building.”

It adds: “Currently the distillery is on multiple levels with narrow/steep stairs and access routes.

Artist impression of Aberlour Distillery project.

“There is no disabled lift to the main process levels therefore no wheelchair users can experience most of the distillery tour. This will allow wheelchair users to experience the entire visitor tour.”

The Aberlour Distillery expansion is the latest on Speyside following the opening of Macallan’s new home last year while Glenfiddich work on its own expansion plans and Diageo has committed to improving the visitor centre at Cardhu.

Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The Scotch whisky industry continues to go from strength to strength, supported by the UK Government with the duty freeze.

“It’s good to see that these decisions have led to the reinvestment by the industry, which we see a lot of here in Moray as the centre for Scotch whisky production.”

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