Work will get underway this year to build a new single malt whisky distillery and visitor centre on the Ardgowan Estate in Inverclyde.

The company today confirmed a £8.4 million equity investment into the business with £7.2m of the new equity coming from Austrian investor and whisky enthusiast Roland Grain and the balance from new and existing shareholders.

The project 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.

The distillery is also in discussion with a loan provider, who will provide additional debt funding for the flagship project in the coming weeks.

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Mr Grain, 47, s the founder, owner and CEO of IT company Grain GmbH and has a long track record of investment in distilleries.

“My passion for whisky began as a teenager in Austria when I began to collect Scotch whisky and today I am thrilled to become the major shareholder in the Ardgowan Distillery. 

“My wish is for this project to create a lasting connection to the community and produce the highest possible quality whisky and over time achieve the lowest possible CO2 footprint.

“The company founders Martin McAdam, Alan Baker and I have a shared vision of what we can achieve.

"Together we will craft the finest quality single malt whisky based on the extraordinary location of the Ardgowan Estate and the unusual microclimate of the Inverkip area.

Mr Grain said the location offered a "great opportunity" to capture tourists. 

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“My hope is that the distillery will become a landmark building and a significant tourist attraction in the years ahead, and I very much look forward to seeing work commence this year."

“Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Glasgow and in 2019 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, drink and retail tourist experience."

Mr Grain started with a small investment in the Cotswolds Distillery and continued with investments in Manly Spirits (Sydney, Australia), the East London Liquor Company and Potstill Spirits Trading – Austria´s largest whisky importer.

Most recently he has become a 20 percent shareholder in UK spirits business Distil Plc.

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Distillery CEO Martin McAdam said: “Roland Grain is a brilliant and passionate cornerstone investor who has global experience in investing in a whole range of spirits businesses.

"He is a genuine whisky enthusiast who has visited distilleries all over Scotland, and he has a clear vision for the project which is very much aligned with ours; based on place, provenance and people.

“This is terrific news for the project and for Inverclyde. We have put a lot of the uncertainty of Brexit behind us and we hope that Covid will also soon be a distant memory."

Local MSP Stuart McMillan added: "The Ardgowan Distillery will not only create 30 new jobs but will put Inverclyde on the global whisky map once again."