ARRAN Brewery has revealed it is poised to submit a planning application for the UK's first commercial sake brewery.
The craft brewer is proposing to develop the venture, which will include a training school, brewing and research centre, exhibition space, and Japanese cultural and food centre, in Dreghorn, near Kilmarnock.
The site, formerly home to Dreghorn Primary School, has been chosen because a church which used to be in the town was dismantled and rebuilt in Tokyo.
Gerald Michaluk, managing director of Arran Brewery, said the bulk of the sake produced in Ayrshire will be exported to Japan.
Marketed under the name Scotland's Number One Sake, it will be distributed in 75cl, screwcap bottles, and in traditional 1.8l format in the long term.
It will also appear in the UK in 180ml bottles.
Mr Michaluk is importing equipment from Japan for the brewery, which will be housed in a five-and-a-half-acre site acquired by Arran. There are three buildings within the grounds. Mr Michaluk hopes the venture will be up and running within three months of the planning application being lodged - in time for the traditional winter sake production season in Japan.
He declined to comment on how much Arran was investing in the project, and said the ultimate outlay will depend on the success of Arran's crowdfunding campaign. The share offer closes at 11am on April 4.
Mr Michaluk, who secured planning permission for a brewery at Loch Earn this month, refused to rule out applying for grant support given the high unemployment in the area.
The plans come after Arran experimented with sake production on a smaller scale. Mr Michaluk said: "We wanted to make sure we could make it. We tried Spanish, French, Italian, American and Japanese rice - now we know how to do it."
Meanwhile, Deeside Brewery has secured a listing with Sainsbury's for two of its beers. Macbeth Scottish pale ale and Californian steam beer LAF will be sold in 12 stores in the north of Scotland from this month.