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Vacant waterfront land sold

Distillery site scheduled for homes and shops

Distillery site (click on image to enlarge)
Distillery site (click on image to enlarge)

A waterfront site which was once the home of Hiram Walker, one of the largest whisky distilleries in the world, has been sold for housing and retail development.

The grain distillery, established in Dumbarton in 1938, produced 25 million gallons of whisky a year until 2001, but the land has been vacant for a decade.

Property adviser Bilfinger GVA, together with joint letting agent DM Hall, has now sold the land to two buyers.  Culross will develop a 7.31 acre site primarily for residential property, while the adjacent 4.96 acre plot has been bought by a retailer.

Stephen Robertson, associate director of Bilfinger GVA’s land and development team, believes the sale of the land will help regenerate Dumbarton.

“These two adjoining sites at Dumbarton Harbour have been vacant for a number of years after the collapse of the distillery in 2002 and most of the buildings on the sites have already been demolished.

“The larger of the two sites is primarily for residential development whilst the second site will complement the commercial activities elsewhere in the Dumbarton town centre.

“The quick sale of both sites, completed within six months of the receipt of instructions, will now add to other council initiatives to help kick-start the regeneration of this part of the town including a new Riverside Walkway.”

The site’s association with distilling continued through changes of ownership. In 1988 Allied Brewers acquired Hiram Walker and became which Allied Distillers. It was the major contributor to Ballantine’s blends.

By the turn of the century it was showing its age since no major reconstructions had been made to the plant since it was built in the 1930s.

The distillery was difficult to upgrade because the tall column stills went up through the concrete floors. Rather than modernise it Allied distillers moved production to the Strathclyde Distillery.

The Dumbarton grain distillery was closed and mothballed in 2002. Most of the buildings were demolished except for the tower.  At one point it was hoped to convert this tower into flats but as this has proved commercially unviable, so it too will be demolished, removing the last reminder of the site’s past.

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