The man who wants to transform a former Falkirk distillery has vowed the project will go ahead.
There were fears that Arran Brewery’s plans for the Rosebank site on Camelon Road could be in jeopardy after the firm failed to secure a Scottish government grant.
But yesterday (Wednesday), managing director Gerald Michaluk said the rejected bid was for its brewery on Arran and a separate application for a grant under the Food Processing Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) had already been made for the Falkirk site.
He said: “Rosebank is a separate application for grant assistance and, because we were aware we might not get the money for Arran, we have a plan B which would double the production and capacity in Falkirk.
“This could also increase the number of jobs the project will create. This was initially estimated at 67 but could now be more.”
He added that it was hoped a decision would be made on the funding within the next couple of months.
The initiative would breathe new life into the former distillery which has lain empty since 1973. Remedial work on the Grade B listed building has been carried out by the brewing company but it is now awaiting planning permission to take forward its full development
Estimating the full cost of the project at around £10 million, Mr Michaluk said: “We are currently in discussion with the planning authority. Things are running slightly behind the initial plans, as we had hoped to announce that we had secured both the planning consent and funding at the same time. However, this looks unlikely at the time being.
“We need a site in Central Scotland for a bottling facility and Rosebank is perfect. I have a passion for old buildings and I’m determined to push forward with this plan for a bottling hall here. If we don’t get the go-ahead for the size we are proposing it will have to be smaller.
“This site is a perfect location for our brewery and proposed visitor centre. We have been working with Scottish Canals and our facility would complement the tourist attractions it already has on the canal and would also allow us to put some of our traffic on to the canal.”
The managing director said the development would have benefits for local businesses and were already trying to secure enough local growers of malting quality barley and farms to take the spent grain, as well as providing beef for the planned restaurant.
Steve Dunlop, Scottish Canals chief executive, said: “We are keen to do all we can to support Arran Brewery in realising their exciting plans for Rosebank and continue to work closely with Gerald Michaluk and the team.”