Built on the stunning Easter Elchies estate in Speyside, the new distillery has been unveiled by Edrington, the international premium spirits company.

Robertson, founded in nearby Elgin, has delivered the complex architectural design, working with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life. We took the complex and unique architectural design and moulded it to complement an area of outstanding natural beauty. This challenging build saw Robertson apply technical skills, innovation and expertise to create a seamless connection to the surrounding countryside.

The Macallan distillery - image by Mark Power

During construction, up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades were employed on site. Going forward, Robertson’s facilities management business will provide maintenance services at the facility.

 

 

It is the first distillery on Speyside to be designed by an internationally acclaimed architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who were selected to lead the project after an international competition.

Edrington is investing £500million in the brand of which the £140million distillery is the centrepiece. This programme increases investment in whisky, warehousing, and particularly in The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.

The Macallan distillery - whisky maturation

The striking piece of contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land, taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills and maximising the aesthetic beauty of the building whilst minimising the visual impact on the Speyside landscape, which has been classified as an “Area of Great Landscape Value”.

The undulating timber roof structure is one of the most complicated timber roof structures in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components. Each junction and beam has a specific name and has been tested in over 160 different load conditions while ‘The Swiss Alpine Design code’ has been used to understand the effects of wind, snow and ice on the intricate structure.

The project was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014. The first whisky ran through the stills in December last year and the visitor experience will open its doors to the public on 2nd June. It is expected that visitor numbers will double in the first year and continue to rise thereafter.

The new distillery will enable production of The Macallan to increase by a third if required. The new stills were crafted by Scottish coppersmith Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.

Natural materials – local stone, timber and the living meadow roof – as well as the landscaping design not only evoke the environment and ingredients of whisky production but also serve to provide an atmospheric journey for the visitor. A number of specialist consultants were appointed to support the interior fit out including Atelier Bruckner, Concept Bars and Modo+.

The Macallan distillery interior - bar


This once-in-a-lifetime project is one that Robertson has been honoured to be part of. The complexity of the construction work required a huge effort from various teams within our business, and their passion and dedication for the project is clear when you see the completed distillery and visitor experience.

– Bill Robertson, Founder and Executive Chairman, Robertson

“Throughout, we have placed great emphasis on understanding The Macallan’s vision for their Speyside home and there has been a real spirit of collaboration between us and all other partners. We congratulate The Macallan and hope visitors to the area enjoy this world class distillery..”

The successful construction of this exciting new distillery and visitor experience has been made possible through hard work, commitment, innovation and collaboration driven by our team. Our partners Robertson, Forsyths, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have been with us every step of the journey and the success of the project has been due to their dedication, professionalism and unwavering commitment to excellence.

– Graham Hutcheon, Managing Director Group Operations, Edrington

Graham Stirk, Senior Partner and Lead Architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners commented: “The Macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely. The vision was always ambitious but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something so dramatic and awe-inspiring. It has been an honour to play our part in shaping the next chapter for The Macallan.”

Ken Grier, Creative Director, The Macallan, said: “As The Macallan has grown globally it has been very important that we make sure we can sustain demand for this wonderful amber liquid. We’ve taken exceptional care in making sure that the spirit that is produced in the new distillery is identical to the spirit that we produced in our previous distillery. This is the beginning of a really exciting new chapter in the evolution of this wonderful brand that is The Macallan.”

Read more about our role in bringing this innovative distillery to fruition

 

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