Industrial Site in Hawick Acquired for Distillery and Visitor Centre

The first distillery in the Scottish Borders to be built in over 180 years is now one step closer to reality as The Three Stills Company Limited (TTSC) has today (20 November 2015) announced that it has secured £10m funding to spur the redevelopment of a disused industrial site in Hawick. TTSC has acquired a site in the town and will lodge plans to convert the buildings, which will include a visitor centre to complement existing local tourist attractions, early 2016.

The first whiskey distillery in the Scottish Borders after 180 years

Drinks industry veterans, the TTSC management team, comprising Tim Carton, John Fordyce, Tony Roberts and George Tait, have all held senior roles at global distillers William Grant & Sons. Director and project leader, John Fordyce also cut his professional teeth with the world’s leading industrial thread business, Coats PLC, and it was this collective knowledge that settled the four founders upon Hawick as the location for the new distillery.

John said: “Hawick has a very proud legacy as the centre for textile production in Scotland and we felt very strongly that we wanted to uphold this rich industrial tradition and bring back distilling to the region after such a long absence. The historical context was one major factor in us identifying Hawick, but so was access to natural resources and raw materials.

“There is a plentiful supply of pure water which the mills have depended on for cashmere and tweed production,” he added. “It’s one of the reasons behind Hawick’s reputation for quality manufacturing. We also have on our doorstep what is undoubtedly Scotland’s most fertile barley producing land. The Scottish Borders Council and local community have been very supportive of our plan: we will be creating jobs in the local area by tapping into a skilled labour market and increasing tourism in the region through our visitor centre.”

Scotland is home to over 100 malt and grain distilleries and more than 10,000 people are directly employed by the industry (Scotch Whisky Association 2014 Report). Generating £3.95 billion in export sales, approximately ¼ of UK exports in food and drink, there is a clear commercial case for an additional Scotch distillery as co-founder and CEO Tim Carton explained.

“Scotch has shown all the signs of long term sustainable growth over the last 20 years,” he said. “Malt scotch is vital for blended scotch, as well as for single and blended malts. The pressure on malt supply is ongoing and TTSC is well positioned to contribute to the next growth phase. We are delighted to have the support of such experienced and enterprising investors to help us realise our scheme.”

scottish whiskey destillery map

TTSC attracted pledges from a group of prominent private investors led by the Edinburgh-based investment company Badenoch & Co. whose owner Malcolm Offord, will become TTSC Chairman; the Ballande family in France (originating from the Scottish Lowlands and now an international, diversified and pioneering commercial group in France and the Asia Pacific region); Drake Enterprises (an international investment group headquartered in Switzerland with Scottish ancestry and a background in food retailing, real estate and agribusiness) and the Duke of Buccleuch. Malcolm Offord said “We have a blue-chip group of investors, all of whom have an interest in or direct link to the Scottish Borders – I look forward to helping the management team deliver another boost to Scottish manufacturing and export”.