What You Need To Know About The Macallan's New Distillery
June 9, 2018 | BY Oliver Giles
Scotch whisky brand The Macallan recently unveiled its spectacular, state-of-the-art new distillery, which is rumoured to have cost £140 million and appears to be buried into a Scottish hillside. Here, we reveal 10 things you need to know about the new building—and what it means for the future of The Macallan.
It’s been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
The Macallan launched an international architectural competition for the new distillery, which was won by acclaimed British studio Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who are also behind the award-winning Lloyd’s Building in London and the upcoming Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities.
The design was inspired by ancient Scottish buildings
The new distillery features an undulating, grass-covered roof and blends in perfectly with the surrounding hills. “There were three images we used when we did the original competition of particular Scottish forms, which are from antiquity,” explains architect Graham Stirk, senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. "One of these was a burial cairn, which are burial mounds made out of boulders and rubble that have been grown over. The landscape has reappropriated what was a man-made form.”
It’s an eco-friendly factory
It was important to The Macallan and the architects that the building was as eco-friendly as possible. “Whisky production is inherently energy consuming, so you’re having to wrestle with that straight-off,” says Toby Jeavons, one of the lead architects on the project. “But we’ve been able to use an adjacent biomass which is being constructed in conjunction [with the distillery], of which The Macallan will be the principal customer. That will generate about 80% of the energy needed for the new distillery.”
Sustainable materials feature prominently
A feat of engineering, the serpentine roof is constructed from wood. “It would’ve been much easier to do it in steel, the roof, but we chose not to,” says Stirk. “Structurally we thought using a material such as timber would be [fitting]—it’s a renewable resource.”
Outdoors, the roof will become its own ecosystem
“People cannot walk on the roof and the whole principal is that it’s in its very raw form and is a natural habitat,” explains Stirk. “It will have all sorts of creatures inhabiting it.”
It will increase production by 30%
There was a practical reason why The Macallan commissioned this new distillery: they were struggling to keep up with demand for their Scotch. This new distillery will up The Macallan's production capability by 30%. In future, there's also the possibility of extending the distillery further along the hillside, which would increase production even more.
The Macallan isn't forgetting its history
If you pick up a bottle of The Macallan, it’s likely that the label will feature an illustration of a turreted, traditional manor house. This is Easter Elchies House, which sits at the heart of The Macallan estate and has long been a symbol of the brand. The futuristic new distillery now sits right next door, meaning that visitors can get a taste of both the brand's past and its future.
The new distillery is so cavernous that St Paul's Cathedral could comfortably fit inside and The Shard, which is currently the tallest building in the European Union, could lie flat without touching either end.
Get your hard hats on
Guests at The Macallan’s new distillery enter into the visitors centre, which houses a restaurant, whisky library and store. This space is only separated from the factory by a thin sheet of glass, so as you enter you can see the enormous steel vats, copper stills and miles of piping that make the base spirit that, after years of maturation in oak casks, becomes The Macallan whisky. With a tour guide, you can cross to the other side of the glass and explore the factory proper.
It’s more than a factory—it’s the home of the brand
“The distillery is the home of production,” says Jeavons. “But it’s also the home of the spirit, it’s the home of what the whole brand is about.”
The Macallan distillery will open to the public on June 2, 2018. Public tours of the distillery can be booked in advance through www.themacallan.com or by calling +44 1340 871471
This article originally appeared on www.hk.asiatatler.com/dining.
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