July 3, 2013 – After years of planning and discussions, work is getting underway on Duncan Taylor’s new distillery in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Site preparation began this week with widening and paving of the entrance area and access road to allow for heavy equipment to reach the historic building where the distillery will be located, according to Duncan Taylor chairman Euan Shand.
The building itself remains the subject of discussions with local authorities, Shand told WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie in a telephone interview today. “The building’s really old – it goes back to 1899, so we can’t decide whether we’re going to tear it down and rebuild it or shore it up and get it into a fit state to hold the equipment,” Shand said. Local planning officials would prefer to have the existing building renovated, while Shand’s preference would be to demolish the building and rebuild it to the same design, while preserving the existing granite stones to be used for the exterior and resulting in a structure that will need minimal maintenance going forward. “By doing this, it’ll last for hundreds of years, as opposed to it’s already been up for a hundred years and needs tidied up”, Shand said. However, he doesn’t expect the talks to delay construction for any length of time, since planning permission has already been granted for the project.
Shand hopes to have the distillery completed in the next 12 to 18 months, depending on where he can get on the schedules for still makers and other equipment suppliers. He cited reports of six to seven other proposed distilleries to be built in Scotland, along with others planned around the world that will source much of their equipment in Scotland.
However, Shand also shot down one often-cited reason for the delay in building the distillery. While there were concerns over the impact of wildlife at the site, those concerns were not the main reason. “We pulled back after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and decided that maybe it just wasn’t the right time…and now is the right time,” Shand told WhiskyCast. Duncan Taylor is also in the middle of another major construction project, in which a former supermarket is being converted into a new bottling facility and whisky shop.
For more on this story, listen to the entire interview with Euan Shand on this weekend’s episode of WhiskyCast.
Links: Duncan Taylor