Macallan Overton Warehousing complex

The Edrington group instructed Blyth & Blyth to undertake the Lead Consultant, Principal Designer, Civil and Structural, and Building Services Engineering role to look at a site for development of a Maturation Warehousing complex for the Macallan Distillery production.

Location: Aberlour
Client: Edrington
Cost: Circa £110m
Completion: Ongoing

A site within the Macallan estate was identified for development. The initial development commenced in 2007 and in 2015 a further phase was instructed to increase the warehousing capacity on the site, which when complete will accommodate 16 number, 6,000 square meters warehouses, each warehouse having 3 cells of 2,000 square meters.

This large complex of buildings has been built on arable farmland above Aberlour and has involved one of the largest earthworks operations Scotland has seen in recent years.

Over 1,500,000 m3 of soil was moved in a cut/ fill exercise required to create the necessary development platforms.

The cells are fully racked to take either Hogsheads or Butts and are fully sprinklered.

Within the site, areas were developed incorporating a Disgorging/Filling store, Cooperage, Amenities buildings, and Offices which are outlined in a separate project profile.

Key challenges

One of key challenges on this project was the earthworks, undertaken through both phases of the works.

The site is located within the catchment area of the River Spey, the main salmon river in Scotland, and thus the control of run off from the site was a key design consideration to ensure suitable prevention measures were implemented for both stages of development.

Another key challenge arose when the British Standard for sprinklers was replaced with the Eurocode, and as such the Scottish Building standards required the sprinkler design within the cells to comply with the Eurocode.

The change to the Euro code was not picked up by the Whisky industry and this resulted in more onerous constraints being placed on the sprinkler designs, some of which could not be complied with in relation to the storage of Whisky in barrels.

Blyth & Blyth in conjunction with the client arranged fire testing to be undertaken to justify the sprinkler arrangement to be adopted in racked warehouses, and this has been accepted by the Scottish Government and forms the basis on which current sprinkler designs are implemented for racked warehousing.

Of critical importance to the development planning has been the handling of SUDS.  The vast areas of impermeable roof and yards have necessitated the construction of over 6,000m3 of SUDS attenuation and treatment measures. This has required careful design, particularly with the  proximity and sensitivity of the River Spey and its importance to the fishing and tourism industries; requiring our very close liaison with SEPA throughout.


The Warehousing complex has ben designed and delivered to program to meet the storage requirements of the Macallan Distillery.

The design of the racked warehouses are the most cost efficient arrangement to maximise capacities, and keep the cost per barrel stored to a minimum, whilst meeting the clients requirements that all their casks are stored in racks.

“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