“Outstanding” Ardgowan Distillery visitor centre to become tourist magnet for Inverclyde

Whisky fans in Glasgow and Inverclyde can look forward to visiting a distillery on their doorstep, as plans to create an outstanding new whisky visitor centre in Inverclyde take their first step.

The Ardgowan Distillery – which is building a new malt whisky distillery on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip – has just appointed leading architects Jonathan Gotelee Architect, brand experience experts Contagious and brand agency Chemistry to help design  a world-class visitor centre at the site.

The news has been welcomed by Sir Ludovic (‘Ludo’) Shaw-Stewart, owner of Ardgowan Estate, who is currently renovating the spectacular Ardgowan House, less than a kilometre from the distillery.

“I really hope that Ardgowan becomes an important part of the Inverclyde tourist experience. The estate has an extraordinary 600-year history and I believe Ardgowan House and the visitor centre will become a tourist magnet for Glasgow day-trippers and cruise ship passengers from around the world. Together we will create jobs and bring new tourists to the area,” Sir Ludo says. 

The site of the proposed visitor centre for the Ardgowan Distillery.

The visitor centre design is being supported through the Greater Renfrewshire and Inverclyde LEADER programme 2014-2020 which has provided 50 percent funding for the concept work.
Ardgowan Distillery Chief Executive Martin McAdam believes the project will provide a welcome economic boost.

“Inverclyde has tremendous tourism potential, yet it performs very poorly compared with other areas in Scotland. We’d like to help change this,” McAdam says. 

“At present, Inverclyde has the lowest number of food and drinks businesses of any local authority area in Scotland, and as a consequence has very low levels of food and drink employment. 

“Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and last year Greenock welcomed more than 100,000 cruise ship visitors, so I believe there is a great opportunity to capture this market with a first-class food and drink tourist experience. We estimate the distillery and visitor centre will create up to 30 new jobs within five years.

 “I’d like to thank the team at LEADER for awarding us this grant. It is an important step in linking food and drink production to tourism to aid the development of rural communities. It is also important to build investor confidence in Inverclyde as a place to do business.” 

The LEADER support comes from “the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas” programme.

“Gastro tourism is a global phenomenon and will make an important contribution to the Scottish Government’s “Ambition 2030 programme” to double food and drink production by 2030. Gastro tourism will create demand and help get our products known and sold in a variety of new and existing markets.  

“The LEADER funds will help the distillery produce a clear design concept for the visitor centre which will bring together several design experts at this early stage to formulate a cohesive plan for the detailed design phase. This will result in a much more comprehensive and realistic detailed design scope to take through to a phase 2 project,” McAdam concludes.