Today a disturbing piece of whisky news shocked readers on Facbook and Twitter: Bladnoch Distillery has gone into liquidation. The news was confirmed by Raymond Armstrong on the Bladnoch Forum. He also stated that the step was not taken because of financial difficulties but because of differing views of the directors and shareholders whether to sell the distillery or not.
A distillery going into liquidation in boom times when new distillery projects are announced literally every day? This may sound surprising indeed, but when you have been following the news about Bladnoch over the years, you could notice that the business has not been booming for them. You could read remarks by Raymond Armstrong reporting about the difficulty of keeping the distillery going with the high cost for barley and fuel, and there have been prolonged periods when the distillery has not been operational at all.
Originally bought from Diageo (then UDV) as a holiday home, production resumed in 2000 under the condition that not more than 100,000 litres of alcohol per year were to be produced. It appears that not even this minimal level of production could be kept up. Fortunately the warehousing so far has provided a steady source of income.
So even if the business was not in risk of imminent failure, it looks as if not all of the shareholders have been happy with how Bladnoch was doing. Obviously it was not possible to give the distillery operation enough momentum to create a sustainable cash flow, even in an economic climate that can only be described as booming.
I have never really grown to love Bladnoch’s style of whisky, but this is not the point here. Most of their whiskies I have tried were made by the previous owners anyway. But it is really sad to see a small distillery going like that, and I truly hope there will be new life breathed into it by new owners as soon as possible.