DWF advises Bladnoch Distillery Limited on landmark acquisition

Top 20 legal business DWF has advised Bladnoch Distillery Limited on its acquisition of Bladnoch Distillery in South West Scotland, which marks the return of distilling in Galloway after six years of non-production.

The new company, Bladnoch Distillery Limited, is spearheaded by Australian entrepreneur David Prior with support from non-executive Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

The DWF team, led by partners Gary MacDonald and Iain McLean with support from Grant Docherty on banking, tax partner Ronnie Brown and the firm’s employment, intellectual property, licensing and regulatory practices, advised Bladnoch Distillery Limited on the landmark deal.

Iain McLean, real estate partner at DWF, said: “We were pleased to support Bladnoch Distillery Limited on this deal which marks a significant moment for the distillery sector in Scotland. It brings new international investment into the region to regenerate the second oldest working Lowland distillery and creates a new brand for the global whisky market.”

Gary MacDonald, corporate partner at DWF, said: “There has been a good level of deals activity across the Scottish food and drink sector over the past couple of years, as investors look to invest in Scottish brands due to their quality and marketability. This deal is a great example of this. It introduces new blood into the whisky sector following a challenging period and provides a real boost for the sector in the Year of Food and Drink in Scotland.”

David Prior said on completion of the purchase of the distillery: “I am delighted to have been able to purchase a Scotch Whisky distillery of such renown as Bladnoch. Scotch Whisky is the world’s foremost spirit drink and I am proud to be part of the Scotch Whisky industry.”

First established in 1817, Bladnoch enjoyed a reputation as a top Lowland Scotch Malt Whisky distillery. The new owners plan to stay true to the distillery’s heritage in restoring it to its former glory. The purchase continues the recent resurgence of distilling in southern Scotland which will see the number of Lowland working malt distilleries increase from two distilleries ten years ago to eight following the reopening of Bladnoch.

Recent transactions in the retail, food & drink and hospitality sector on which DWF’s Scottish team has advised include: acting for Apex Hotels Limited on its £10.5m acquisition of Rossmark Hotels; acting for Grahams the Family Dairy Limited on its acquisitions of Quothquan Farms Limited and Aberdeenshire-based Mitchells Dairy and acting on behalf of major new client NewRiver Retail in relation to the purchase of The Avenue Shopping Centre, Newton Mearns, Glasgow.

Gary MacDonald


I am a Partner in the Corporate team based in Edinburgh, advising corporate entities, investors and management on all aspects of corporate finance, corporate governance and general corporate matters.

Iain McLean


I am a well-known figure throughout the UK real estate market, advising those involved in investing, developing or occupying property within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Grant Docherty

Head of Banking & Finance (Scotland)

I am head of DWF’s Banking and Finance department in Scotland. My practice covers a broad range of work including bilateral and syndicated loans, asset finance, structured finance and securitisation and debt restructuring.