ENTREPRENEUR Gerald Michaluk is expanding his growing drinks empire by setting up a new brewery, bottling hall and tourist attraction.
The regeneration of the former Rosebank Distillery site at Camelon, near Falkirk, may create up to 70 jobs with the addition of a visitor centre to hold the Scottish National Brewing and Distilling Centre.
Isle of Arran Brewery owner Mr Michaluk, who recently announced a tie-up with Angus MacRuary and the Isle of Skye Brewery, intends to spend a seven-figure sum overhauling the derelict buildings after striking a deal with owner Scottish Canals.
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The revamp will include a new Rosebank Brewery making lagers, beers, ciders and wines plus a bottling facility for all its brands.
Mr Michaluk hopes that if he is successful in obtaining some public grant funding for his latest project it could eventually support around 70 jobs.
He said: "We have acquired the site from Scottish Canals and are doing a joint development with them on some of the buildings.
"It will be a brewery initially – called Rosebank Brewery funnily enough – then a bottling facility.
"This is going to be a 30,000 litre mash tun so we can do 30,000 litres a day from this facility, which is a massive increase in capacity."
Around 500,000 litres a year are produced at the brewery on Arran, although it and the facilities at Skye are being upgraded to increase capacity to around 16 million a year.
Mr Michaluk said the investment in Rosebank did not mean other beers would be brewed there.
He is confident the new product range produced from the canal- side site can quickly gain traction when it is launched next year.
He said: "Arran will be brewed on Arran, Skye beers on Skye and Rosebank here. So it is a new brand which is coming out and we will be putting it straight in for national listings with supermarkets.
"Rosebank will handle bottling from all three breweries."
Tidying up work at the site has begun, although the main construction phase will not start until April.
Mr Michaluk, who also heads Marketing Management Services International (MMSI) in Glasgow and has interests in property and helicopters, is hopeful beers will be getting produced at Rosebank by summer 2013.
He said: "The actual expenditure will be well into seven figures. It is a huge project.
"You are taking a distillery which has been derelict for 20-odd years with nothing in it anymore and putting it all back together again.
"The first thing going in here is a small craft brewery which will allow us to produce something straight away as it will take us about a year to get the full 30,000 hectolitres operational.
"The site is big enough to let us handle multiple yeasts which our current sites can't do. We can get mead, cider and fruit wines so it is a big expansion of the product range."
Mr Michaluk is currently raising capital from external investors to help fund expansion plans which include investing to take brewery capacity to 16 million hectolitres, building up a chain of pubs and sending Skye, Arran and Rosebank drinks into more export markets.
The first pub is scheduled to open in Glasgow in the early part of 2013.
The Rosebank Distillery is thought to have been founded around 1817, although the current site dates from 1840.
It operated from then until its closure in 1993, although Rosebank whisky, noted for its triple distillation, can still be bought.
The deeds to the distillery say it cannot be used for distilling until 2017 and Mr Michaluk is keen to eventually produce whisky at the site again.