THE combined Isle of Skye and Arran Breweries’ holding company has acquired the former Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk and have announced plans to turn it into a Scottish National Brewing and Distilling Centre, to include a working brewery and distillery.
The breweries have been fund-raising over the past three months and this is the first crystalisation of their ambitious plans to increase production ten-fold. This will also involve a full restoration of the Rosebank buildings and, subject to permissions, will involve a new craft brewery and the re-instation of whisky distilling, as much of the original whisky-making equipment is still in situ.
Isle of Skye Brewery’s Angus MacRuary, said: “The site is fantastic, on the banks of the Forth-Clyde Canal and near the Falkirk Wheel. The creation of our brewing and distilling centre will add another major attraction to this area and to Scotland as a whole. As well as the brewery and distillery we will have a visitor centre and museum and a bar-restaurant overlooking the canal; the latter in partnership with Scottish Canals. A new bottling hall will handle bulk-bottling for the three breweries in the group, as well as whisky. We will also be involved Historic Scotland as they oversee the land between the buildings and the canal.”
Gerald Michaluk, of Arran Brewery, plc said: “This is something we have been working towards for some time and, although there is still much to be done, we intend to have Rosebank beers on the market within the next three or four months. If they can match the quality of our Skye and Arran beers then they will find a ready market both at home and abroad.”
This news has been welcomed widely in the area with Falkirk Council stating their delight and that they are more than willing “to work closely with Gerald, Angus and their team to help realise their vision”.
David Gardner, chief executive of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce said that “the renovation of the Rosebank Distillery will give a boost to the economy in many ways and we are working closely with Arran/Skye to help them settle in and engage with the wider business community”.
Scottish Canals said that the acquisition by Skye/Arran is ideal for them due to the breweries’ reputations. They see the breweries’ plans as giving the buildings a “vibrant, exciting and sympathetic new use”.
In parallel with the Rosebank development both Skye and Arran Breweries are working closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the two island sites, with Arran expected to be completed by mid-2013 and Skye six months later. The combined company will eventally employ 90 staff, including 15-20 on each island.
Contact: Lesley Ferguson