Key milestone reached

Borders distillery campaign raises £10 million

Malcolm Offord - BBC grab

The first distillery to be built in the Scottish Borders for more than 180 years has reached a key milestone after The Three Stills Company announced it has secured £10 million of funding.

The company will lodge plans in early 2016 to convert a disused industrial site in Hawick and build a visitor centre.

Each of the management team – Tim Carton, John Fordyce, Tony Roberts and George Tait – held a senior role at global distillers William Grant & Sons.

The company attracted pledges from a group of prominent private investors led by the Edinburgh-based investment company Badenoch & Co. whose owner Malcolm Offord (pictured), will become TTSC chairman.

Director and project leader, Mr Fordyce also cut his professional teeth with industrial thread business, Coats.

He said: “Hawick has a very proud legacy as the centre for textile production in Scotland and we felt very strongly that we wanted to uphold this rich industrial tradition and bring back distilling to the region after such a long absence.

Three Stills Clan Fraser

“The historical context was one major factor in us identifying Hawick, but so was access to natural resources and raw materials.

“There is a plentiful supply of pure water which the mills have depended on for cashmere and tweed production.

“It’s one of the reasons behind Hawick’s reputation for quality manufacturing. We also have on our doorstep what is undoubtedly Scotland’s most fertile barley-producing land.

The Scottish Borders Council and local community have been very supportive of our plan: we will be creating jobs in the local area by tapping into a skilled labour market and increasing tourism in the region through our visitor centre.”

Scotland is home to more than 100 malt and grain distilleries directly employing 10,000 people and generating £3.95 billion in export sales, about a quarter of UK exports in food and drink.

Mr Carton added: “Scotch has shown all the signs of long term sustainable growth over the last 20 years.

“Malt scotch is vital for blended scotch, as well as for single and blended malts.  The pressure on malt supply is ongoing and TTSC is well positioned to contribute to the next growth phase. We are delighted to have the support of such experienced and enterprising investors to help us realise our scheme.”

Other support came from the Ballande family in France (originating from the Scottish Lowlands and now an international, diversified and pioneering commercial group in France and the Asia Pacific region); Drake Enterprises (an international investment group headquartered in Switzerland with Scottish ancestry and a background in food retailing, real estate and agribusiness) and the Duke of Buccleuch.

Mr Offord said “We have a blue-chip group of investors, all of whom have an interest in or direct link to the Scottish Borders – I look forward to helping the management team deliver another boost to Scottish manufacturing and export.”

TTSC was advised by ES Noble & Company and Brodies.

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