An ancient estate with links to Pocahontas and an 'infamous' coven of witches will soon be the site of a new £12m distillery and visitor centre.
Yesterday, Inverclyde Council gave the green light to plans for the lowland malt-whisky distillery on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip, 30 miles west of Glasgow.
'The lands around the estate have been occupied nearly continuously for over 4,000 years and the history of my family at Ardgowan stretches back over 600 years,' says Sir Ludovic ‘Ludo’ Shaw-Stewart, the 12th Baronet and owner of Ardgowan Estate. ‘In that time, Ardgowan has played its part in the story of Scotland’.
‘King Robert the Bruce fought here prior to Bannockburn and his descendant King Robert III granted the estate lands to my ancestor Sir John Stewart in 1404,' adds Sir Ludo, who is planning for the distillery to become a cornerstone of the regeneration of the Ardgowan Estate.
The estate saw a series of infamous witch trials in the 17th centuries. It was also home to the marriage of another ancestor, Sir Michael Shaw Stewart (the 5th Baronet) and Eliza Farquhar, a direct descendant of Native American Princess Pocahontas in 1819. Pocahontas was one of the most significant figures in the early colonial history of America.
‘The Ardgowan Distillery will be a fantastic new chapter in the history of this area, and all future drams will have these extraordinary bloodlines – from both Scotland and the United States – in their veins,’ Sir Ludo says.
‘Our goal is to produce a truly outstanding seven-year old lowland single malt,’ says Martin McAdam, the distillery’s chief executive.
It is hoped the new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirit and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.
Work on the £12 million distillery will begin this year and it is hoped to be operational in 2019.