A Speyside distillery is to undergo a major expansion to enable it to play an even bigger role in the world market.
Chivas Brothers submitted proposals for a new boiler house, still house, tun room and mash room at its Aberlour Distillery to keep pace with international demand.
Huge windows will form part of the complex to let visitors look out to the Lour Burn, which is the water source for the spirit, while inside.
Moray Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the plans amid hopes the project will pour benefits into the local economy.
Drawings submitted to planners show the development will ensure visitors to the distillery will now be separated from routes for service vehicles.
An expanded car park with electric vehicle charging points and an improved path and new timber bridge over the Burn of Aberlour for pedestrians have also been included.
David Bremner, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “I welcome this significant investment in Aberlour Distillery for the benefit of our local economy.
“It will support local jobs and enhance the experience for the many thousands of visitors who are attracted to the region for the world-famous Speyside whisky brand.
“The applicants have strived to make sure the development is sympathetic to, and in keeping with, our special landscape area designation – which is vital in protecting the special character and quality of our much-loved landscapes.”
Council officials said the phased redevelopment of the long-established distillery, which has been operating since 1879, would help sustain jobs in the area.
Planning officer Richard Smith said: “The design has included appropriate mitigation to address environmental issues and reflect the sensitive location.
“It is considered an acceptable development in an existing business area that will help local employment and contribute to sustainable economic growth.”
Aberlour is the most recent distillery on Speyside to have expansion plans approved.
Macallan opened its new £100 million home in 2018, while Glenfiddich has also invested in a new still house and tun rooms to boost capacity in recent years.
Forres councillor Claire Feaver raised concerns about the effects lighting would have on roosting bats during the construction phase of the project.
Committee members unanimously agreed to add a condition covering the building work, in addition to the operation of the distillery, to protect the species.