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Brechin distillery plans investment in new visitor centre

Distillery manager Doug Fitchett nosing the whisky in 1825 warehouse.
Distillery manager Doug Fitchett nosing the whisky in 1825 warehouse.

Glencadam Distillery in Brechin expects to have its new world-class visitor centre up and running within the next couple of years.

The owner, Angus Dundee Distillers, is currently spending heavily on redeveloping the site.

The visitor centre is to feature a whisky-tasting area, tour, restaurant and shop.

Other work ongoing on the site currently includes the distillery offices being relocated in one of the old warehouses.

Glencadam is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and dates back to 1825.

Glencadam Distillery team filling casks.

Brian Megson, a director at Angus Dundee Distillers, said Glencadam currently employs 17 people and the plan is to add several more posts when the visitor centre opens.

He said: “It will be a nice attraction for the growing number of people interested in the story behind whisky and its long history.

“We have not had a visitor centre at Glencadam before and are keen to show the distillery to tourists from all over the world. It is all part of the marketing experience.”

Mr Megson stressed his company’s long-term commitment to the distillery and the Brechin area, and said the current investment in the site will total a significant seven-figure sum.

Glencadam Distillery global brand ambassador Iain Forteath checking the colour of the whisky.

Glencadam was owned by Allied Domecq before being bought by Angus Dundee Distillers in 2003.

It had been mothballed for several years before the sale.

Mr Megson said: “We started it up immediately and I am proud to report it has been in full production ever since.”

Glencadam is sold throughout the world, with its main markets including the US and Far East.

Mr Megson said its single malt has proven popular with enthusiasts as it is bottled at 46% volume, instead of the more normal 40%.

Glencadam Distillery in Brechin

“Also, we don’t chill filter or colour our single malt, as we think it gives our whisky more flavour than others which are chill filtered or coloured.”

Recent evidence of Glencadam’s popularity came when it won gold medals at the International Spirits Challenge 2020.

Glencadam produces around 1.4million litres of spirit a year, which either ends up in blended whisky or the Glencadam single malt.

Mr Megson said Covid-19 has not had much impact on the distillery as they have managed to work through the pandemic, though he said it was difficult to pinpoint any effect on sales to date.

But he said the 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky exports to the US introduced in 2019 had been “very damaging” to sales for the industry.

As regards the effects following Brexit going through, Mr Megson reported it had only caused minor disruption to his company.

As well as Glencadam, Angus Dundee Distillers also has the Tomintoul Distillery and a bottling plant in Coatbridge.

Iain Forteath, global brand ambassador of Glencadam malt whisky of Brechin, enjoys a dram.

It has more than 60 years’ experience of distilling, bottling and exporting whisky and other spirits to more than 80 countries around the world.

The firm’s results for the year to June 30,2020, have just been posted at Companies House.

They show a big jump in turnover to nearly £60million from £48.1million the year before.

Pre-tax profits also surged to £17.5million from £12.4million previously.

In the strategic report with the results, the firm said the big increase in turnover was mainly due to an improved performance in the EU market.

The Angus Dundee Distillers workforce during the year rose to 153 from 144.

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