Plans to construct a new distillery, named Dal Riata, on the banks of Campbeltown Loch have been approved by Argyll & Bute Council.
The project by Dal Riata Distillery Ltd, which will include a museum, a visitor centre and a retail outlet, involves a £4.5 million investment and is expected to create employment for around 20 local people.
Dal Riata Distillery Ltd noted it had pledged to provide trainee positions for those seeking a career in the “burgeoning Scotch whisky industry”.
It said: “The name Dal Riata - The Kingdom of Alba - was used during the sixth and seventh centuries and encompassed an area including Argyll, Kintyre, Islay, Jura, Mull, Ardnamurchan, Cowal and a north-east corner of Ireland.”
The company noted the capital of Dal Riata was Dunadd Fort. It added that it intends to grow the barley for the new distillery’s single malt Scotch whisky at Dunadd, which is near Lochgilphead.
The vision for the creation of Dal Riata comes from long-term whisky enthusiasts Iain Croucher, founder and owner of independent whisky bottler North Star Spirits, and Ronnie Grant, an entrepreneur.
Dal Raita Distillery director Mr Croucher said: “To be working within Scotch whisky is beyond a blessing.
“We must preserve this vital global asset for future generations to enjoy and thrive.”
Ronnie Grant, who is also a director of the distillery, said: “Gaining planning permission is a massive step forward in fulfilling our dream to bring a new distillery to Campbeltown. We have been humbled by the positive reaction we have received from both local people and the wider whisky community. Campbeltown is a special little place which is certainly on the up and we can't wait to become a part of its bright future.” Charlie Maclean, Master of the Quaich, said: “Campbeltown holds an important and special place in the history of Scotch whisky. Two hundred years ago, some 25 distilleries were producing 748,000 gallons (3.5 million litres) of spirit according to The Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland. In recent times the number of operating distilleries has significantly dwindled, but the news that The Dal Riata Distillery has been granted planning permission is splendid.”
The museum will be “dedicated to telling the story of the town’s long and proud association with whisky distillation”.
A vacant shop on Longrow, adjoining the site,will be developed into a visitor centre and conference and tasting room.
The long-term plan for the distillery includes building a warehouse at Machrihanish Airport for cask storage.
Dal Riata Distillery said it was envisioned that this facility would also include bottling and storage facilities for private clients.