Jun 15 2012 by Sharon Liptrott, Dumfries Standard Friday
A DISTILLERY at Annan is preparing to produce its first whisky in 92 years.
A £4.5 million restoration scheme at the former Johnnie Walker site is progressing well.
It is hoped limited production at the new Annandale Distillery will start later this year.
And it is scheduled to be in full production by Easter next year.
Contractors, manager Malcolm Rennie and architect Fiona Sinclair are working round the clock to get it up and running.
Alterations to one of two bonded warehouses at the Northfield site have just been granted unconditional planning approval.
Experts have had to completely restore the slate roofs on the warehouses, which were in a poor state when Dumfries-born David Thomson and wife Teresa bought the site – which was on Scotland’s buildings at risk register – in 2007.
The couple, who got slate from a demolished building for the roofs, say the traditional bonded warehouses should store around 4,000 barrels.
However, as most of the whisky produced by the Annandale Distillery Company Ltd will be stored until it is eight to 10 years old, they are searching for more bonded warehouses.
They are looking for a location close to the distillery capable of storing up to 20,000 barrels.
Professor Thomson said: “Ideally, I’d like to find a site right on the Solway coast, near Annan.”
Land around Chapelcross is also being considered.
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s principal economic regeneration officer Chris Brown says she is offering support through the Corridor Regeneration Strategy Group, (CoRes).
She added: “We are working very much with the Annandale Distillery Company Ltd.
“Work is progressing well on site and David Thomson is looking for sites for bonded warehouses.”
Work is still to begin on road access to the distillery.
Under a second phase of work yet to start, Annan will get a visitor centre with a cafe/restaurant and exhibition area.
A whisky academy is also being planned.
It is hoped that a mature Annandale Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky will be in the shops for 2020.