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Expansion plans for distillery near Balmoral is approved by Aberdeenshire Council

The Royal Lochnagar Distillery, just a mile from Balmoral, has been given the go-ahead to expand its offering in an effort to attract more tourists.

Aberdeenshire Council recently approved a number of improvements to the distillery’s visitor area and outdoor space.

The distillery’s bar is currently undergoing a major upgrade.

Visitors will soon be able to order meals there while a variety of drinks will be served from whiskies and cocktails to teas and coffees.

The operating hours of its tours will also be extended by an hour, in the hopes of more guests filing through the doors.

Under the changes they can now start from 9am, but the bar area will still open at 10am.

Two outdoor drinking areas will also be added allowing various events to be held at the distillery.

Events in the pipeline could include charity fundraisers, dinners, talks and demonstrations such as cooking workshops.

Both of the areas will be accessible through the visitor centre which gives guests the chance to learn more about the story of Royal Lochnagar and its malt whisky.

Laura Sharp, brand home manager for Royal Lochnagar, said the distillery was “very pleased” to have the council’s support.

She said: “The amended licence will make the use of the outdoors areas around the distillery more flexible.

“It permits us to make the popular outdoor bar at the front of the building a permanent fixture.

“It also means that the lawns can be used for special, one-off events.”

Ms Sharp added: “Royal Lochnagar is an incredibly special place and the new licensing agreements ensure that the visitor experience is even more welcoming and enjoyable for all of our guests.”

The distillery was founded in 1845 and originally went by the name New Lochnagar after a nearby mountain.

But it was renamed three years after a visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1848.

King Charles visited the distillery back in October 2018 to celebrate His Royal Highness’s cask of Royal Lochnagar Scotch Whisky.

The dram was distilled in 1988 to mark the 140th anniversary of the royal visit.

Meanwhile a limited release Balmoral platinum edition of its Highland single malt whisky was launched earlier this year to mark the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The changes are being made as part of Diageo’s ongoing investment in Scotch whisky tourism.

The firm recently carried out improvement work at the Cardhu distillery in Speyside.

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