The long-awaited return of Rosebank Distillery took another step forward today as ground was officially broken and work commenced at the site.
The groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of the facility’s redevelopment under new owners Ian Macleod Distillers.
The extensive, multi-million pound restoration is expected to be completed by Summer 2021, when the iconic distillery will open its doors to the public and begin production once again.
Situated on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal in Camelon Road, Falkirk, Rosebank has been dormant for a quarter of a century, having ceased production in 1993 when former owner UDV – now known as Diageo – mothballed the site and its maltings were converted into a restaurant.
It was feared the whisky, one of the most respected and sought-after Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world and often referred to as the King of the Lowlands, would be gone forever, until Ian Macleod Distillers acquired the Rosebank brand and last remaining stocks in October 2017.
In January 2019 they were granted permission to revive the distillery and have since been putting plans in place to bring it back to life.
Mike Younger, finance director of Ian Macleod Distillers said: “This ground-break is an iconic milestone. It marks the start of a new and exciting chapter for both Rosebank and Ian Macleod Distillers.
“Our vision was to bring this quintessential Lowland single malt back to life and ensure it could live on for generations to come. A dream that is now very much underway. More than ever, there is a real want for a Rosebank revival.
“It has now become somewhat of a collectors’ item, with bottles of 12 Year Old selling at auction for £350 plus, so there will be a lot of people excited to hear that work is officially under way.
“We have quite the road ahead and look forward to sharing our journey.”
Expansive plans for the 1000-square metre, energy-efficient distillery includes a state-of-the-art visitor centre, tasting room, shop and warehouse among the canal-side buildings. The other side of the distillery will look strikingly different, with a modern, glass-fronted stillroom.
The iconic 108ft chimney stack, which has become an instantly recognisable landmark in Falkirk, will remain right in the middle, connecting Rosebank’s past with its future.
Ian Macleod Distillers will also replace all distillery equipment, including three stills for triple distillation, plus worm tub condensers – allowing them to employ the same unique distillation techniques for which Rosebank is famed.
Once open, Rosebank distillery is expected to generate 25 full time jobs and attract around 50,000 visitors a year to Falkirk. It will offer a wide range of distillery tours, with some featuring the very last drams of Rosebank distilled prior to the 1993 closure.