Cambus Cooperage

Diageo had a requirement to modernise their Coopering facilities within Scotland, and in 2009 appointed Blyth & Blyth to undertake the Lead Consultant, Principal Designer, Civil and Structural, and Building Services Engineering role, to develop plans for this working closely with the machinery designers as well as the in-house Coopers.

Location:  Cambus
Client: Diageo
Cost: £6.5m
Completion: 2011

The new Cooperage facility is constructed at the existing Diageo Blackgrange and Cambus complex, Alloa. The facility located within the existing cask storage park has been located to provide better logistical benefits and upgrading of operations for the client.

The state of the art facility, a first of its type in Europe, utilises automated conveyor systems as part of the coopering process, moving cask materials to designated workstations within the hall.

Our involvement in this project, from concept through to construction, required close coordination with the client and process designers to ensure that the building met the Client’s aspirations.

The steel frame building structure is designed to provide an internal open plan cooperage hall, with ancillary storage, workshops, welfare and two storey office space placed on the periphery. The trussed roof structure over the hall was also designed to support the process conveyor systems

Ground conditions on the site proved to be poor, with soft, wet clays present above rockhead to approximately 3-5m depth below ground level. We developed a remediation strategy utilising lime stabilisation of the existing clays to provide a strong bearing formation. The lime stabilisation technique minimises ground materials required to be taken offsite, and maximises the potential future building modification by creating a uniform ground bearing strata.

Key challenges

They key challenge on this project was the coordination with the machinery suppliers as this ranged from traditional equipment such as hoop driver, planners etc. to over head conveyors, robotic cask placement on fires and automated steam chambers. These new innovations for a Cooperage, and the coordination with these into the final building layout was a challenge but the end result where rewarding.


A state of the art Cooperage was designed and developed that meet all the Client’s expectations in modernising a Cooperage to reduce manual handling , but also achieve the required through put for the facility that was anticipated at the design concept stage.

“Edrington have worked with Blyth and Blyth for the past 15 years on various projects throughout the group and during this time we have developed a close and trusting partnership. B&B offer the full range of engineering services, allowing us to have a one stop shop on engineering consultancy requirements, with the obvious benefits this brings. B&B experience in the whisky industry is second to none which has the double benefit of not wasting time and money having to explain the process each time. As said previously, Edrington have been working with B&B for more than15 years and with a fair wind this relationship will continue for a further 15 years and beyond.”

George McKenzie Engineering Director, The Edrington Group