The iconic Rosebank Distillery could enjoy a new lease of life as a brewery and bottling plant thanks to a major grant from Historic Scotland.
The Arran Brewery has been given £500,000 to move forward plans to restore the buildings which stand alongside the Forth and Clyde Canal and eventually open a brewery, bottling plant, micro distillery and visitor’s centre..
The beers produced will pay tribute to the brands made famous by the Aitken’s Brewery founded in 1740 that took its brewing water from the canal next to the site.
Arran Brewery is working with Historic Scotland, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals to redevelop the site but wants to protect its history as home to one of Scotland’s most famous distilleries.
Managing director Gerald Michaluk said: “It has been a long struggle to get support for this site from the Scottish Government and while we welcome this grant there is a long way to go before it will be restored and sustainable. However, with the support of the other agencies involved, we are moving forward. We want to maintain the historic character of the site and open it to the public, but at the same time need to ensure its ongoing economic success by running a profitable business .
Talks with Falkirk Council have been productive so far but the distillery, opened in 1817, is in desperate need of major repair and it could cost another £1.5 million to complete the work needed.
Whisky writer Jim Murray, who wrote the legendary ‘Whisky Bible’, claimed Rosebank was one of the top 10 distilleries in the world. In 1988 the bond across the road was sold to the Beefeater pub chain and in 1993 the distillery itself was mothballed by then owners United Distillers. In 2002 Diageo sold the site to British Waterways.