THE company developing a £20 million 'cathedral of whisky' in Inverclyde has appointed an industry stalwart as its new chairman.

Industry stalwart Paul Currie, co-founder of the Isle of Arran Distillery, is taking on the key role as work at Ardgowan Distillery.

Mr Currie joins an increasingly experienced team which is being assembled as the firm prepares to launch its new distillery by the end of the year at Bankfoot.

With 30 years of experience under his belt, Mr Currie, who also co-founded The Lakes Distillery in Cumbria, has been heralded by Ardgowan as bringing an 'extensive' understanding of the sector.

He said: “There has been great change in the malt whisky industry over the last 30 years, as many new independent distilleries have opened.

"I have been fortunate to have been involved as co-founder of two of these, Isle of Arran and The Lakes, both of which continue to grow and prosper.

“A new wave of distilleries are now opening both in Scotland and in the rest of the world and Ardgowan Distillery is set to be at the forefront of these, with a terrific location, innovative ideas, and an outstanding team.

“From the cutting-edge technologies helping the distillery reach its sustainability goals, to the commitment to quality made through Ardgowan’s investment in its unique Infinity casks, everything to date has been planned to the highest standard.

“With construction now under way on site, it is a pivotal time to be joining the team.

"I am particularly looking forward to supporting the development of the Clan Ardgowan programme which allows whisky lovers from all over the world to become part of Ardgowan Distillery’s journey.

"I am also enthusiastic about bringing my knowledge and experience to the team to help Ardgowan to become a leading single malt brand.”

Mr Currie's appointment comes shortly after Ardgowan, which is headed by chief executive Martin McAdam, hired David Keir, a founding director of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, who arrived with 25 years’ industry experience, as its new sales and marketing director.

The senior team also includes ex-Macallan master of wood Stuart Macpherson and master whisky maker Max McFarlane, previously lead whisky maker at Edrington.

Mr McAdam said: “As a start-up distillery it is so important for us to be able to attract great people.

"With Paul’s experiences from both Isle of Arran and The Lakes Distillery, he is someone who has built distillery businesses from the ground-up, it is a real pleasure to bring him on board as our chairman.

“We share a lot in common with Lakes Distillery and what Paul and his team have done at Lakes is similar to the visitor experience that we wish to bring to Ardgowan Distillery.”

The distillery, which is being developed on the historic Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip, will restore whisky making to Inverclyde for the first time since the Second World War when it becomes operational.

Production is scheduled to commence at the net-zero distillery at the end of this year. It is hoped that its state-of-the-art planned visitor centre will create 47 jobs