Green light for multi-million Rosebank Distillery revival – Scotch Whisky News

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Green light for multi-million Rosebank Distillery revival 

Ian Macleod Distillers has been granted planning permission to start work on its multi-million pound redevelopment of the Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk.

Following the lodging of a planning application in June 2018 and a subsequent extensive public consultation process, Falkirk Council has now given the green light to the Rosebank restoration, which is one of the most respected and sought-after Lowland single malt whiskies in the world, widely termed the ‘King of the Lowlands’.

Rosebank ceased production in 1993 when former owner UDV (now Diageo), mothballed the site and its maltings were converted into a restaurant.

After 25 years of lying dormant, the extensive work to revitalise the Distillery is now expected to begin shortly.  This will generate 25 full time equivalent jobs for the local economy when it commences distillation and opens to visitors around Autumn 2020.

Situated on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal, the revived Rosebank Distillery hopes to attract around 50,000 visitors a year to Falkirk and will offer a wide range of distillery tours, with some featuring the very last drams of Rosebank distilled prior to the distillery’s 1993 closure.

Plans include a new circa 1,000-square metre contemporary and energy-efficient distillery with a production capacity of up to one million litres of alcohol per year. The iconic Rosebank chimney will remain in place and other historically significant canal side buildings will be retained and refurbished for use as a visitor centre, tasting room, shop and warehouse space.

Leonard Russell, Managing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of Rosebank, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this significant milestone of the Rosebank redevelopment project.  To bring back to life an iconic distillery and quintessential Lowland single malt is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Our investment goes beyond production. We’re proud to be investing in Falkirk by adding to the town’s flourishing economy and tourism scene with a new Rosebank Visitor Centre, to help tell the story of this remarkable whisky.

“Rosebank Distillery has a very special place in Scotland’s whisky heritage and we’re committed to ensuring this remains the case. We will strive to replicate the unique Rosebank style by once more employing the unique techniques of triple distillation and worm tub condensers, for which this iconic Lowland single malt is famed.”

Following planning approval from Falkirk Council, Ian Macleod is purchasing the Rosebank site from its current owners, Scottish Canals.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals for their support of our vision to revive Rosebank Distillery. The backing from both parties has brought our vision to life and enabled the smooth running of this initial phase of the project. We look forward to continuing these relationships as we progress through the next stages.”, added Russell.

Councillor David Alexander, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development said: “It’s great to see the Rosebank Distillery coming back into use and this large investment on the site is to be welcomed. We’ve worked closely with Scottish Canals and Ian Macleod Distillers to ensure that this site can become a great tourist attraction as well as bringing investment to the local economy and new employment opportunities. We look forward to seeing this historic site transformed and producing whisky that will be recognised across the world.”

Ian Macleod Distillers also acquired the Rosebank brand and last remaining stocks from former owners, Diageo, in October 2017. The company expects to use this limited Rosebank whisky for a small number of releases from 2019, distilled in the last few years before Rosebank Distillery closed its doors in 1993.

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About Rosebank Distillery

Rosebank Distillery is located beside the Forth & Clyde Canal at Camelon, between the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies. Its history on the present site begins in 1840, when James Rankine acquired the maltings of the Camelon Distillery, which were on the opposite side of the canal to the main distillery.

By 1886 Rosebank was operating on both sides of the canal with the Camelon building producing malt which was then transferred over a swing bridge to the distillery building. In the 20th century it was considered one of, if not the, premier Lowland malts. In 1993, owners, United Distillers, mothballed the building. Rosebank’s single malts are now some of the most sought-after in the collectors’ market.

About Ian Macleod Distillers

Established in 1933, Ian Macleod Distillers is one of Scotland’s leading, independent family-owned distillers, blenders and bottlers. Ian Macleod Distillers became a fully integrated distiller, blender and bottler in 2003 when it purchased Glengoyne Distillery. This was followed by the acquisition of its second distillery, Tamdhu, in 2011 and more recently, Edinburgh Gin in September 2016.

About Falkirk

The Falkirk area has seen significant tourism growth. In the period 2009 to 2017 there has been an increase in visitors to the area of 53% and the economic impact of this sector has grown by 63% and numbers employed has seen growth of over 18%. There are now three five star (Visit Scotland rated) attractions in the area – The Kelpies in Helix Park, Callendar House and Xtreme Karting and two of Scotland’s top ten attractions in relation to visitor numbers. For more information about tourism in the Falkirk area go to


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