Global whisky asset management business’ Fife relocation plans gather pace

At the site of the proposed SWI HQ are, from left to right, Keith-Verden Anderson (Smith Anderson), Paula Civelek and Keith Rennie (SWI) and Jamie Anderson. Image credit: Cath Ruane

PROPOSALS to relocate the global HQ of Scotch Whisky Investments (SWI), as well as one of the world’s largest whisky collections to Scotland, has moved a step closer.

SWI, the international whisky asset management business, is set to relocate from Sassenheim outside Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to the Fife village of Falkland. It has now taken ownership of the site of its proposed development in the village from current owners, Smith Anderson.

SWI helps investors with their portfolios, managing whisky not for consumption, but for investment. It seeks to showcase the history of, and educate people about single malt Scotch whisky, as well as promote investment in the commodity.

The HQ will be located at the site of the former St John’s Works. This includes proposals for a new corporate building with hospitality, offices, some retail and a small number of cottages for investors, visitors and staff. It will sit on a 10-acre site but will occupy only 40% of the land.

The St John’s Work’s site was formerly a linoleum factory and then taken over by Smith Anderson, a manufacturer of paper bags before its closure in 2013, after which it was demolished.

This HQ building aims to act as a centrepiece for showcasing single malt Scotch whisky, as well as providing a place of hospitality for investors in this commodity. Designed to house the worldwide administrative functions of the company itself, the intent is that the site will have global appeal.

It is also the intention of SWI to relocate one of the world’s largest whisky collections to its new home in Falkland once the development is completed. A planning application for the Falkland centre is expected by the end of the year, with approval by next summer, and with the potential to start construction on site in late 2024.

SWI already boasts significant investments in Fife, including a bottling plant in Auchtermuchty that produces approximately 6,000 bottles of whisky per week. The purchase of 7.7 hectares at Crompton Road East in Glenrothes was one of the area’s most significant industrial land sales in recent years.

The £10 million phase one development at Glenrothes is almost done, with four maturation warehouses and plans to expand to 27 which could hold some 200,000 casks. Supporting the cask investment and storage market that will allow Scotch to age on site, it is intended that these will be launched by next month and has secured £850,000 in grants from Scottish Enterprise.

Keith Rennie, MD for Scotch Whisky Investments, said, “We are delighted to have taken what is a significant step forward in the delivery of these exciting proposals to relocate our global headquarters to Scotland, and with it one of the world’s largest whisky collections. This is a fantastic location, and taking over the site is indeed a significant milestone, building on our already significant investment in Fife.

“Fife Council have been very supportive in relation to our activity in Glenrothes and Falkland, and Scottish Enterprise have also been great to work with. Our vision as a company is to showcase and educate people about single malt Scotch whisky, as well as promote investment in the commodity.

“Through this the relocation of our global headquarters, complemented by our facilities elsewhere in Fife, considerable employment and tourism opportunities will be delivered not just for the Kingdom, but for Scotland as a whole.”