Ardgowan Distillery launches £17 million investors fundraising drive

A new distillery with historic links to King Robert the Bruce has launched a £ 17 million funding drive – with leading independent chartered accountants Campbell Dallas appointed to advise.

The Ardgowan Distillery, located 30 miles west of Glasgow, secured planning permission from Inverclyde Council earlier this month and is now seeking investors to bring their ambitious vision to life.

The project has raised over £500,000 seed capital to date, and the new distillers are advancing their proposals to build a world-class lowland malt whisky distillery and visitor attraction on the historic Ardgowan Estate.

Construction is scheduled to start later this year, with plans to be operational in 2019.The distillery is being advised by Campbell Dallas Corporate Finance team, led by Harro Leusink.

Commenting on the appointment, Ardgowan Distillery chairman and former Macallan managing director Willie Phillips  said: “I think the Ardgowan Distillery is a terrific commercial proposition and Campbell Dallas is the right firm to assist us with this fundraising – they have a strong track record of advising on funding as well as an excellent understanding of the brewing and distilling sector.

“We are planning to build an outstanding distillery of significant scale to make a lowland single malt that will have a distinctive taste and flavour given its proximity to the sea. Our flagship will be a premium seven year old single malt, which I anticipate will establish Ardgowan as a single malt of great character.

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“We already have a senior management team in place with proven experience in project delivery, and have brought on board former Bruichladdich and Diageo veterans Gordon Wright and Michael Egan in commercial and product engineering advisory roles.

“Initial production will be around 200,000 litres of pure alcohol (LPA) and this will rise to over 800,000 LPA at full production. The distillery will be scalable with the option to expand production to 1.6m LPA with limited additional investment,” Willie concludes.

Commenting on the appointment Murdoch McLennan, partner, and head of brewing and distilling at Campbell Dallas said:

“We are delighted to be advising the Ardgowan Distillery in raising further funds. Whisky distilleries are a well-recognised investment opportunity which can achieve strong capital returns and dividend distribution in the medium to long term.

“The Ardgowan Estate, where the distillery will be located, is within easy commuting distance from Glasgow and has tremendous historic connections going back hundreds of years. There is a good water supply and the distillery and visitor centre will be a natural step on a malt whisky route to Campbeltown and the island distilleries.

“The first spirit will be produced in 2019 and the total funding requirement is approximately £17m, which will cover the construction, commissioning and the first three years’ production costs.

“In common with other investments of this type, the distillery is anticipating a mixture of equity, debt funding and public grant support.

“Investment will qualify for EIS tax relief for UK investors, and the Ardgowan Distillery will appeal to high net worth individuals, family offices, overseas investors and companies within the whisky supply chain,” Murdoch concludes.

The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirt and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.