Distillery plan for Portavadie revealed

A new distillery is being planned, producing whisky and gin at Portavadie on Loch Fyne.

Proposals for a small craft distillery and visitor centre on the site of the recently demolished Pollphail village have been submitted to Argyll and Bute Council.

The development would create the equivalent of between six and eight full-time jobs, producing 60,000 litres of alcohol a year.

A design report produced by applicants Portavadie Distillery Ltd says the product would be ‘initially high quality whisky and gin, with a view to the production of other spirits in the future to meet market demands’.

It adds: “The aim of the proposal is to be environmentally friendly and function in a sustainable manner, taking advantage of local resources and reusing waste and by-products.”

Gin production would initially use spirits imported from third party suppliers, although the equipment panned is capable of making gin from scratch.

The distillery and visitor centre would be open six days a week, with facilities including a café/bar area, shop and tasting room.

An application for bonded warehouses was approved by the council two years ago but the company says casks would initially be stored elsewhere, with warehouses being built when there is enough demand.

Portavadie Distillery Ltd was created by Alexander (Sandy) Bulloch, who has been working in the whisky business since the 1940s and was instrumental in creating Portavadie Marin, with its restaurant, luxury apartments, cottages and berths for 200 boats.

Pollphail village has stood empty for decades after being built to accommodate oil works in the 1970s.

It has now been demolished at an estimated cost of £300,000, with a purpose-built bat roost being built for a protected species which had been living there.

The company’s statement adds: “Currently there is a plethora of small distilleries producing more gin than whisky, benefiting from the fact that gin can be created and sold almost as soon as its produced.

“Whisky requires to be matured for at least three years to be classified as Scotch whisky.

“The cash flow benefits associated with gin production generates a more credible business plan and sustainable business model.

“The proposed distillation kit has been selected for its flexibility in producing almost any white and brown spirit, unlike traditional setups which can be limited to producing one, allowing the distillery to tailor to future consumer demand and trends.”

The application is available on the council’s website, reference number 17/02839/PP