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Our Big News: Witchburn Distillery in Campbeltown

May 24, 2023

We are super excited to share with you our big news! We have submitted the final planning application to Argyll & Bute council for a new single malt whisky distillery in the Scotch Whisky region of Campbeltown. The Witchburn Distillery will be located between Campbeltown Airport and Machrihanish Village, at the former RAF Machrihanish airbase, making use of an abandoned industrial unit at the site.

Witchburn takes its name from the word Witch: originally meaning folk healers, mostly ‘wised women’ using herbs and the power of imagination. Previously amongst the most respected people in village life. Burn: coming from the Scots Gaelic for a naturally occurring freshwater stream or very small river that flows into a larger river.

The distillery has been designed by sustainable distilling and engineering specialist Organic Architects, and will be powered by 100% green renewable energy to make use of cutting-edge heat and energy recovery systems. This will make Witchburn one of the most environmentally friendly distilleries in Scotland. Italian distilling plant producer Frilli will also be enlisted for the project.

Our Net-Zero carbon production distillery is planning to produce 2 million litres of alcohol per year and run 24/7, to ensure it keeps reusing as much heat and energy as possible. There are plans to produce a range of unpeated, lightly peated and heavily peated malts. The whole design aims to produce a typical, complex and full-bodied Campbeltown malt. Our aim is to recreate a whisky like those produced many decades ago.

When complete, Witchburn will operate with 1 mash tun (capacity of 5 tons), 16 washbacks (each with a capacity of 30,000 litres), allowing for a fermentation period of 96 hours or more, 2 wash stills (each with a capacity of 16,000 litres, and 2 spirit stills – each with a capacity of 7,000 litres. The majority of our spirit will be matured in ex-bourbon, Oloroso sherry casks, selected Tawny and Ruby Port and organic Bordeaux wine barriques. Maturation would take place in both on-site warehousing close to the sea and off-site areas.

Production at Witchburn will be headed by founding Master Distiller, Andrew Nairn, former Distillery Manager of Glenkinchie, Strathmill and Borders Distillery, who said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with Organic Architects and Frilli to develop a distillery to produce a truly great Campbeltown Spirit to combine traditional artisan methods of whisky-making with the latest green technology is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Subject to planning application approval and schedules, production at the distillery will commence in the last quarter of 2024. There are also plans to open a visitors’ centre in the next few years.

We are looking forward to becoming part of the community. Contributing to the already worldwide reputation of Campbeltown whisky. We could not find a better location to build our first still house. The distillery is a great addition to our existing portfolio of internationally recognized brands of Scotch Whisky, but also an opportunity to give back to the outstanding community of Scottish whisky distillers.

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