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Whisky bonanza lifts spirits in Campbeltown

May 24 2023

Whisky bonanza lifts spirits in Campbeltown

Campbeltown's whisky resurgence continues with plans for another distillery being brought to the attention of Argyll and Bute planners.

Witchburn by Brave New Spirits will transform a disused RAF base at Machrihanish to accommodate overspill from nearby Islay, where new distilleries compete with established providers for scarce water resources and limited electricity capacity. This conflict has prompted a desire to encourage new distillers to look further afield across the Kintyre peninsula.

Gareth Roberts, founder & director of Organic Architects, commented: “The Witchburn Distillery, located between Campbeltown Airport and Machrihanish Village, will be powered by 100% green renewable energy sources and the latest in heat and energy recovery systems.

"This particular building was formerly used by the US Navy Seals. A firing range and equipment stores will be replaced by copper pot stills and spirit vessels. The tall parachute drying tower is now transitioning to the happy use of whisky cask maturation – brightly painted it will be the most prominent part of the new whisky brand, making a peaceful transition to its new use.”

Last year plans were showcased for a town centre distillery as part of a reawakening of interest in Campbeltown as a seat of whisky production. 

A brightly painted parachute tower promotes the new brand
A brightly painted parachute tower promotes the new brand
Campbeltown is reaping the benefits as Islay reaches saturation point
Campbeltown is reaping the benefits as Islay reaches saturation point


Nairn's Bairn
#1 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 24 May 2023 at 11:46 AM
Great to see new investment at Machrihanish after the failure of successive Vestas/SSE/CS Wind successive windfarm construction ventures. Campbeltown and Kintyre sorely needs it.

Tourism spin-off from the whisky trail will be beneficial too.
Sue Pearman
#2 Posted by Sue Pearman on 24 May 2023 at 13:34 PM
Absolutely agree that this is great investment but unfortunately this does not look in any way like an attractive visitor distillery (Raasay for example). It looks exactly like a collection of repurposed unattractive industrial buildings, which will not draw it up any hitlist of places to visit.
Great Uncle Beet
#3 Posted by Great Uncle Beet on 25 May 2023 at 09:54 AM
#2 is this comment based on your role as an ambassador for Visit Scotland or an architectural critique?
#4 Posted by Lovely on 26 May 2023 at 11:15 AM
I don't think you need a hard hat to run a still. Nice to see real world investment but it does look a lot like a mid range 1980's industrial estate.
Nairn's Bairn
#5 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 26 May 2023 at 16:04 PM
#2 It's true that the current building is dated but better repurposed industrial buildings than abandoned industrial buildings.

There is a PPP application being considered for a 75-bed hotel just north of here too, hopefully Kintyre is on the up!
#6 Posted by Steven on 26 May 2023 at 16:30 PM
#3 I don't think architectural design is something that should have such gatekeeping.

Sure, there are people with technical expertise and critics on design, but shouldn't anyone have the right to share their personal opinion on whether they appreciate the appearance of something? Or are we going to enslave ourselves hegemonic structures when it comes to something that should be simple and subjective like personal taste?

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