AN industry expert has joined the ranks of an Inverclyde distillery as work gets underway on its £20 million state-of-the-art ‘cathedral of whisky’.

David Keir has been appointed as Inverkip-based Ardgowan Distillery's new sales and marketing director at an exciting time for the group, just weeks after ground was broken on the first phase of the ambitious development.

The area's first zero-carbon whisky distillery has been promised, with Ardgowan expected to create almost 50 jobs for the local area and, upon completion, the capacity to produce one million litres of premium whisky per year.

With more than 25 years’ experience building premium spirits brands, including Bruichladdich, The GlenDronach and also as a founding director of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, Mr Keir brings a 'deep understanding and knowledge of the Scotch whisky industry' to the local distillery, which is set to become operational in 2024.

He said: “With construction now underway, it is great to be joining the company at such an integral stage of the project.

“As we wait for Ardgowan Single Malt to come of age I look forward to working with the team and developing our existing multi-award winning brands; Clydebuilt & Inverdarach.

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"Growing Ardgowan Distillery’s existing network of distributors across select global markets will be a priority, with positive discussions already underway with potential partners in the USA, Asia and Europe.

“Our UK home market is also very important. Specialist retailers have had a challenging time of late and the recent duty increase has added to this.

"However, they perform a crucial role for emerging brands like Ardgowan Distillery and for discerning consumers who like to seek out something a little different.

"I’ll be focused on building a strong route to market with these retailers, supporting them wherever we can.”

Ardgowan Distillery chief executive, Martin McAdam, added: “David comes to us with a fantastic background, bolstering everything we do.

"Having a portfolio of experience as extensive and successful as David’s, we look forward to utilising his skills to help position Ardgowan at the forefront of the Scotch whisky industry.”