Whisky Magazine Issue 105
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Ian Wisniewski asks, what exactly does it take to open a distillery?
The malt whisky landscape is all set to change. Diageo is building a new distillery, with several others planned including Kingsbarns and Annandale. Additionally, Chivas Brothers is reopening Glen Keith distillery in April, 2013. While we savour these prospects, anyone opening a distillery faces an extensive ‘to do' list.
The pre-requisites are to secure funding and produce a business plan. In the absence of funding, a detailed business plan can generate investment, so long as it delivers the required detail. This includes the overall concept, production capacity, staff numbers, visitor centre, running costs, and projected sales figures with profits for the next 10 to 15 years.
“Writing our business plan wasn't straightforward as a distillery of our small size hadn't been built for a long time, and being accurate without a template to refer to is difficult.
Getting investors on the back of a business plan is also difficult, unless they understand the Scotch whisky business, as most people expect a return within three to five years, rather than 10 to 15 years with malt whisky.
It took four years to get enough money to get going, but it was easier to attract additional investors once we'd built the distillery and they could see the operation,” says Anthony Wills, managing director of Kilchoman, which went into production in 2005.
Potential sites for a distillery are assessed on the basis of suitable road access for lorries, and crucially, a consistent supply of water...