Distil invests in Ardgowan as base for Blackwoods gin

Distil is to invest £3 million in a project to build a new distillery at Inverkip in the Scottish Lowlands.

Planning permission for the Ardgowan distillery was obtained by founders Martin McAdam and Alan Baker in 2019, with long-term plans to create a Lowlands single malt.

Distil’s investment will see the site also become a home for production of Distil’s Blackwoods gin and a new Distil-owned blended malt whisky brand, details of which are yet to be revealed.

The Distil investment takes the form of an initial £3 million loan, with the potential for the amount to be increased to £5 million. Distil has an option to convert the loan into equity in Ardgowan

Austrian IT tycoon Roland Grain bought a £7.2 million equity stake in Ardgowan earlier this year. Grain is also a 20% shareholder in Distil and has stakes in East London Liquor and Australia’s Manly Spirits.

The new distillery will be situated on the Ardgowan Estate and resurrects the name of a distillery built in nearby Greenock in 1896.

It will have two copper pot stills based on rediscovered designs from the original Ardgowan, and six washbacks, with the capacity for 1 million litres of spirit per annum.

Distil executive chairman Don Goulding said: “We are delighted to announce our loan agreement and collaboration with Ardgowan which we see as a fantastic opportunity to add significant growth to the business in both the short and long term.

“The convertible loan of up to £5 million allows us the opportunity to realise a longstanding ambition to create a home for Blackwoods with our own stand-alone distillery and visitor centre.

“Access to our own facilities, as well as the ability to draw upon the Ardgowan team’s wealth of experience, will allow us to accelerate NPD across our existing portfolio of brands, as well as create our own brand of malt whisky, positioning ourselves in a premium category which has been in long-term growth globally.

“The Ardgowan team’s vision for the distillery and plans for the future are exciting, and we look forward to working with them on mutually beneficial projects as this new partnership develops and we push the Distil business into a new stage of growth and development.”

Ardgowan chief executive Martin McAdam said: “We welcome this investment and are excited that Distil has chosen Ardgowan as the home for Blackwoods gin.

“The Distil team is knowledgeable, passionate and very much aligned with our vision for the project.

“We welcome their investment and look forward to working together in an ongoing partnership to help both sides achieve ambitious goals.”

Distil’s spirits portfolio includes Red Leg spiced rum, Blavod vodka and Jago’s cream liqueur.