The Glasgow-based independent whisky bottler and blender Brave New Spirits, have submitted a final planning application to Argyll & Bute council on 24th May 2023, for a new single malt whisky distillery at the former RAF Machrihanish airbase in Campbeltown.
The Witchburn Distillery, which will be located between Campbeltown Airport and Machrihanish Village, will use traditional distilling craftsmanship to produce unpeated, lightly peated and heavily peated malts.
The new Net Zero carbon production distillery – which will produce 2 million litres of alcohol per year, will be powered by 100% green renewable energy sources and the latest in heat and energy recovery systems, making Witchburn one of the most environmentally friendly distillery in Scotland. The distillery is planning to run 24/7, to ensure it keeps reusing as much heat and energy as possible.
Witchburn takes its name from the word Witch; originally meant folk healers, mostly ‘wised women’ using herbs and power of imagination. Previously amongst the most respected people in village life. Burn; which comes from the Scots Gaelic for naturally occurring fresh water stream or very small river that flows into a larger river.
When complete Witchburn will operate with 1 Mash tun – with a capacity of 5 tons; 16 Washbacks each with a capacity of 30,000 litres, allowing for a fermentation period of 96 hours or more; 2 Wash Stills – each with a capacity of 16,000 litres and 2 Spirit Stills – each with a capacity of 7,000 litres.
Witchburn has a carefully planned wood policy, with the majority of its spirit to be filled into barrels from famous American Bourbon producers, Oloroso Sherry casks from various Bodegas, selected Tawny and Ruby Port barriques and organic Bordeaux wine barriques. The distillery will mature its casks in on-site warehousing close to the sea, and in warehouses in the Campbeltown area.
Production at Witchburn will be headed by Founding Master Distiller, Andrew Nairn, former Distillery Manager of Glenkinchie, Strathmill and Borders Distillery, who said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with Organic Architects and Frilli to develop a distillery to produce a truly great Campbeltown Spirit to combine traditional artisan methods of whisky-making with the latest green technology is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Witchburn, which plans to create around 30 permanent new jobs in production, warehousing, and distribution, also plans to open a visitors’ centre in the next few years.
Commenting on the news, joint owners of Brave New Spirits and the new Witchburn Distillery, Adam Hochul and Alexander Springensguth, said: “We are looking forward becoming part of the community, contributing to the already worldwide reputation of Campbeltown whisky. We could not find a better location to build our first still house. The distillery is a great addition to our existing portfolio of internationally recognised brands of Scotch whisky, but also an opportunity to give back to the outstanding community of Scottish whisky distillers.”
“The whole design aims to produce a typical, complex and full-bodied Campbeltown malt. Our aim is to recreate a whisky like it has been produced many decades ago.”
Subject to planning application approval and schedules, production at Witchburn Distillery will commence in the last quarter of 2024.
For reference from Inside the Cask – The Distilleries of Campbeltown