THE chief executive of a multi-million-pound whisky distillery and visitor centre set to open near Inverkip believes the new facility can provide a massive boost to the local economy.

A striking steel frame has now been built at the Ardgowan Distillery site, with work to add cladding and complete the stunning building’s roof now underway.

Gin is already being manufactured on site and bosses are hopeful that whisky production can commence in quarter one next year.

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Around 50 jobs are set to be created by the venture, which distillery chiefs say will bring more than 50,000 people to Inverclyde each year.

The Telegraph paid a visit to the site to see the progress of the development and talk to Ardgowan Distillery CEO Martin McAdam about the project.

Greenock Telegraph: Ardgowan Distillery is starting to take shape.

Excitement has been building about the project in recent months as more and more of its distinctive ‘nordic long hall’ main building has been constructed.

Mr McAdam told the Telegraph that there will be plenty more milestones for curious locals and passers-by to see in the coming weeks.

He said: “It was great to get started, we started pouring the foundations on October 17 and then started on the steelwork in early February.

“Eight weeks on from that you can now see that all of the steelwork is finished, we have the side cladding on one side and we’re starting on the other.

“In the next month we should see the roof substantially finished, so we’re pretty pleased with the way everything has gone.

“Towards the end of June, we expect the stills to be delivered and then the bigger vessels - the mash tun and fermenters – will be coming after that.

“We’ll see, let’s say by the end of August or the beginning of September, the installation of all the major vessels for the plant.

“After that it’ll be pipework, electrics and all the rest of it. Our goal is to be operational in quarter one next year. “

The distillery held a successful open day last year which drew thousands to the site and are hoping that their second open event, scheduled for September 7, will prove even more successful.

Greenock Telegraph: Ardgowan Distillery is starting to take shape.

Mr McAdam added: “You won’t miss it on the road anymore, we have quite a number of people just come by and pop in.

“We’re not really set up for visitors at the moment unfortunately but later on in the year we’ll try and organise things a bit better so we can maybe have certain days when local people can come in and have a look."

Mr McAdam hopes that the jobs and tourism revenue created by the site can help bolster the local economy.

Greenock Telegraph: Ardgowan Distillery visualisations

He said:  “I’d like to thank local people in particular for their support, we’ll be in this community for a long time, and we’ll be employing people from this community.

“For me being able to contribute to the local community in terms of jobs is very important, through economic development comes prosperity and through that people are able to lift themselves up. I hope this contributes towards that.

“We’re sponsoring the Wyllieum which is part of the new cruise terminal and we’ll be offering the cruise ships the opportunity to book tours down at the distillery, we see that as an important market.

“If you look at other distillers in the area it’s very credible that you could get 50,000 to 70,000 visitors a year through here.

“The key is that we don’t want people just to get on the bus and go to Loch Lomond or Glasgow or Edinburgh, we want people to stay in the area and spend their money in the area.”