Distillery revived by Banbridge man is saved from closure

The Bladnoch Distillery in Wigtown
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SCOTLAND'S most southerly distillery at Bladnoch in Galloway, owned until last year by Banbridge man Raymond Armstrong, has been saved from closure.

The distillery and visitor centre near Wigtown had been run by Armstrong's firm Co-ordinated Development Services in Co Down

It went into liquidation in March last year, casting a cloud over the future of the facility.

But it emerged yesterday that Bladnoch is to reopen and restart whisky production after being bought by Australian entrepreneur David Prior.

He says eight warehouse, administrative and visitor centre staff will be retained, while some new jobs will be created.

The new company, Bladnoch Distillery Limited, is headed by Mr Prior, supported by non-executive director Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Mr Prior added: "I am delighted to have been able to purchase a Scotch Whisky distillery of such renown as Bladnoch.

"Scotch whisky is the world's foremost spirit drink and I am proud to be part of the industry.

"It's wonderful to see this distillery - which dates back nearly 200 years - being revived."

Luke Charleton of liquidators EY said there had been a "tremendous level of interest from domestic and international investors" in the distillery.

"It is particularly pleasing to have sold the distillery to a buyer with a clear growth strategy," he said yesterday.

Raymond Armstrong, a businessman with an interest in whisky, originally bought the distillery in 1994 after it had been mothballed by United Distillers the previous year.

He spent over five years renovating the distillery, with production of the Bladnoch lowland malt recommencing in 2000.

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