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Scapegrace reveals plans for new £13m distillery

New Zealand spirits producer ScapeGrace Distilling Company has annonced plans to build a new £13 million distillery - believed to be the country's largest distillery to date.

The new facility in Central Otago, on the South Island, will produce the company's current portfolio of gin and vodka and its soon-to-be-released single malt whisky, as well as allowing it to expand into other product categories.

Located on a 36-hectare (89-acre) property on Lake Dunstan, the distillery will also open its doors to local and international visitors, with plans to open to the public in November 2023.

Launched nearly a decade ago by brothers-in-law Danial Mclaughlin and Mark Neil, along with Richard Bourke, Scapegrace Distilling Company was founded on a vision to produce superior spirits in New Zealand that could attract an international audience. The company's spirits are now sold in 40 countries.

Of the new site, Mclaughlin said: "The halfway point between equator and south pole runs directly through our distillery site, giving us extremes in hot and cold temperatures – an optimum environment for ageing whisky. Naturally, the pristine water quality is also ideal for distilling gin and vodka, pulling from glacial run-off from the Southern Alps."

Scapegrace's gobal sales director James Cowan said: "Having worked in the Scotch and American whisky sectors for over 20 years, it is extremely inspiring to see our independent New Zealand distillery bring about something new, refreshing and exciting to the whisky landscape and our new distillery and expansion into single malt will undoubtedly open new doors across the globe for the business."

The new Scapegrace Distillery has been designed by renowned architect firm Cheshire Architects, which has spearheaded some of New Zealand's most ambitious and influential modern architecture projects. Construction has already commenced on the first of the facility's two buildings, which will contain the new head office, bottling hall, warehouse and the first of the barrel rooms. It is anticipated to open in August 2022. The second building, containing the state-of-the-art distillery, is expected to open in October 2023.

Neal, who is also Scapegrace's marketing director, said: "We made the decision early on to create a world-leading distillery with sustainability at the forefront, so together with the experts at Cheshire we have factored that into every decision we’ve made.

"When mapping carbon footprints, Scapegrace decided to switch from traditional fossil fuel boilers to electrode boilers. The distillery building structure itself is to be constructed from timber rather than steel. Each decision is an incremental step forward in our quest to eventually become carbon neutral and create a property that enhances the region."

1 June 2022 - Bethany Whymark