Speyburn, which is located near Rothes in Speyside, currently produces 1.8 million litres of spirit a year. The expansion programme, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014, will increase capacity to more than four million litres a year in a bid to satisfy what Inver House describes as growing international demand for Scotch whisky.
In addition to increasing production capacity, the project will aim to improve the distillery’s carbon footprint through the installation of energy-efficient distillation equipment.
The company has predicted the new equipment, which will reduce energy consumption for every litre of alcohol produced, will lead to energy savings of around 20% a year.
First opened in 1897 the distillery, which produces Speyburn Highland Single Malt, has retained a number of its original features, including a pagoda roof, wooden washbacks and traditional dunnage warehouses, for more than a century.
“As we continue to be very optimistic about the long term potential for Scotch whisky, particularly in the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), African and South East Asian economies, investment in our production capabilities is crucial,” said Inver House managing director, Graham Stevenson.
“Having the infrastructure in place to produce our high quality whiskies in greater quantities will be key to the future success of our brands, so we are delighted to see the first phase of this major programme of work get underway at Speyburn Distillery.”
Speyburn’s range of whiskies includes the Speyburn 10 Year Old, 25 Year Old and ‘Bradan Orach’ expressions. The expansion work will be carried out by local businesses Forsyths, of Rothes, which will manufacturer new production equipment, and Elgin-based construction company Robertson.
“This is an exciting time for everyone here at the distillery and we are working with a great team of local companies to deliver the expansion programme, whilst retaining the great traditions and time-honoured techniques involved with crafting our whisky,” said distillery manager Bobby Anderson.
“It’s exciting for us to know that even more people around the world will be able to enjoy a taste of Speyburn as the project progresses this year.”
Commenting on the investment rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said the expansion is “excellent news not only for the whisky industry, but to the local economy in Speyside”.
“We know there is great demand for Scotland’s national drink, with whisky exports from the UK increasing by 87% over the last ten years, from £2.3 billion in 2002 to £4.3 billion in 2012, and the expansion of this distillery will play an important role in meeting that global appetite for our premium product,” said Lochhead.
“I also welcome the fact the distillery is showing leadership by reducing its carbon footprint through the installation of energy efficient distillation equipment, and playing its part in the move towards making Scotland a low carbon economy.”
Inver House Distillers is the whisky subsidiary of International Beverage Holdings.
In addition to Speyburn, the company owns the Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu and Balmenach distilleries.