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By Hugh Boag
A major extension is being proposed for Lochranza Distillery which will see production increase by 33 per cent this year to cover projected long-term growth in sales.
An extension is planned for the still-house to accommodate up to four additional wash-backs (fermenters) to facilitate this growth and will also include a new visitor entrance to the distillery to improve accessibility.
A planning application for planning permission for the new extension has been lodged with North Ayrshire Council planning department and is under consideration.
Isle of Arran Distillers managing director Euan Mitchell told the Banner: ‘The planning application for an extension to the Lochranza Distillery forms a crucial part in the next stage of our development as a company and as a brand.
‘The additional space will allow us to expand production capacity and ensure adequate stocks are being laid down to meet the growing demand for Arran Single Malt from around the world long into the future.
‘Whisky production requires long-term vision and planning, with stocks from each year covering a period of bottled sales potentially spanning over 30 years.
‘In addition, the proposed building will create an iconic new entrance to the Lochranza Distillery for visitors and, most importantly, allow for disabled access which is not currently in place.
‘The proposals submitted for planning, together with the launch of the first Lagg Single Malt later this year, mark another significant step forward for Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd,’ he added.
Lochranza Distillery was officially opened in 1995. Since then the site at Lochranza has continued to develop and provide additional production and office facilities and is established as a popular tourist destination and visitor experience.
Sales of Arran whisky have flourished and new wash and spirit stills were installed in 2016 to increase production.
To supplement the existing six washbacks (fermenters) within the existing distillery hall there is a requirement for additional washbacks. The proposal is to extend the existing distillery on the adjacent site towards the visitor centre.
The extension will initially house two 13,000-litre timber washbacks, to match the existing washbacks within the distillery hall. There will also be space for future expansion for another two washbacks.
The existing site allows public access to the visitor centre with guided tours giving people access to the distillery hall to view the existing stills and washbacks.
However, the new entrance will improve the visitor flow and provide accessibility to the distillery hall for all visitors.
The distillery is located within a National Scenic Area and the site is adjacent to a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as is much of this area on the island.
A design statement by architects Denham Youd, submitted with the planning application, states: ‘The proposed site for the washback extension is located between the visitor centre and the existing distillery building which houses six washbacks, two wash stills and two spirit stills together with associated distilling equipment.
‘The location and scale of the proposed extension means that it will be screened by the existing distillery buildings except to the north east facing elevation which faces the visitor parking area.
‘The washback extension form is influenced by the curved nature of the timber washbacks and barrels.
‘The existing buildings have a traditional distillery form with steeply slated pitched roofs and pagodas.
‘The proposal seeks to sit comfortably with this form whilst providing a new contemporary appearance that embodies the workings of the distillery process within,’ it concludes.
All images Denham Youd