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Angus businessman to deliver whisky distillery in China

David Valentine of Valentine International is setting up a whisky distillery in China.
David Valentine of Valentine International is setting up a whisky distillery in China.

A Forfar-based businessman is delivering a new whisky distillery from Moray to China.

More than 35 tonnes of equipment is shipped out from Buckie for the Chinese port of Tianjin before arriving at Ordos.

Inner Mongolia’s first whisky distillery in Ordos is around 350 miles west of Beijing in China.

David Valentine, managing director of Valentine International Business Connections, has a lucrative “design and build” contract for the distillery constructed for Chinese firm MengTai.

Distillery construction underway

The original plan was have the new distillery producing its first batch of malt whisky by the end of 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic created logistical problems but the project is back on track for completion at the end of 2021.

MengTai has already begun construction of the distillery buildings.

The firm is preparing to assemble the equipment on site with supervision from a team of five engineers from Forsyths.

Mr Valentine says: “We contracted Forsyths of Rothes in Morayshire for the design & build of the distillery production equipment.

“It has built over 300 projects around the world and is unrivalled in the manufacture of complete distillery systems.

The equipment is shipped in 16 containers and 5 wooden crates.

“In addition to the £3 million export of distillery equipment and related services, we have signed off a strategic agreement with a long established whisky distiller for the supply of bulk whiskies.

“We are also making steady progress and are now at the stage of deciding flavouring and branding prior to production and maturation.”

Valuable business relationship

Forsyths have nine fabrication facilities located on three sites in the North East of Scotland.

The firm also have a team in Hong Kong to provide sales back up and services.

Richard E Forsyth, managing director of Forsyths, says the firm looks forward to deliver the prestigious new distillery.

He says: “It is the first project that our company has won in this province.

“We look forward to repaying that faith with a first class distillery capable of producing high quality premium malt whisky.”

MengTai’s core businesses are coal production, electricity generation, aluminium fabrication and the distribution of urban heating systems.

Recently the company has diversified into the development of new energy, internet e-commerce and modern financial services.

The MengTai Group employs over 4,000 people with total assets in excess of £3 billion.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is looking forward to supporting the development of the business relationship between China and Scotland.

Chief executive Liz Cameron says: “It is tremendous to see this exciting opportunity come to fruition and showcase the value of forging business relationships with partners across the globe.

“It demonstrates that Scotland has world renowned industries attractive to investors and, with the right framework, is ready to take advantage of new trading opportunities.”

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