An iconic Speyside distillery has been given the go ahead for a massive £100million redevelopment.
Members of Moray Council’s planning committee yesterday granted permission for the new Macallan production facility and visitor centre at its Craigellachie site.
Last night, the project was hailed as “great news” for the region – and proof that its malt whisky industry is enjoying boom times.
The new distillery has been designed to complement the surrounding area, and features a “rolling roofscape” overlooking the Macallan Estate and River Spey.
The architects commissioned to design it – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners – were also behind the Millennium Dome in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Planning committee chairman Douglas Ross said: “I think planning officials worked hard to get this turned round quickly.
“The design has a contemporary feel to it and it will appeal to visitors, while increasing output.”
Graham Hutcheon, group operations director of Edrington, which owns the Macallan brand, said: “We are delighted with the decision taken today by the Moray Council planning committee.
“This permission enables us to forge ahead with our work on site. Following a competitive tender process, we have selected Robertson as our preferred contractor to deliver our new distillery and visitor centre.
“Only the external appearance of the distillery will change – the exceptional quality of The Macallan will not be compromised and the same focus on attention to detail and personal care of the whisky’s production will be upheld.
“The new distillery will undoubtedly become one of the most talked about distilleries, not only in Speyside, but globally, and we look forward to starting on site soon.”
The new facility will be capable of producing up to 15 million litres of whisky per year, compared to the 9.5 million-litre out put of the existing plant, which will be mothballed.
Robertson’s executive chairman, Bill Robertson, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been selected by The Macallan to build their new world-class, iconic distillery and visitor centre.
“As a local business we have worked in the whisky industry for many, many years and fully understand the aspirations of the sector.
“Perhaps more importantly we have taken the time to understand The Macallan, the business, its objectives and its reputation for high quality in all it does.
Moray MP Angus Robertson, who is vice-chairman of the House of Commons all party parliamentary Scotch whisky and spirits group said: “This £100million investment by Edrington Group in The Macallan brand demonstrates how incredibly buoyant the malt whisky sector is and the fantastic level of confidence in the future that is running right through the sector.
“The design for the new distillery is incredibly innovative and will be a jewel in Moray Speyside’s crown.”
SNP Councillor for Speyside and Glenlivet, Pearl Paul who was at the planning meeting yesterday, said: “Investment on this scale is great news for Speyside and means more jobs both directly and for the wider supply chain for our vitally important whisky sector.
“I am delighted that this got the backing of the planning authority and look forward to seeing it progress.
“It is hugely important that the development of high quality industry, with high skill employment, is supported.”
The Macallan was founded in 1824 and was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed.
The new visitor centre is scheduled to open to the public in spring 2017.