Bacardi Limited has begun its redevelopment of the former Laverstoke Mill site which is just to the east of Whitchurch. The company is transforming the former bank note production site into a combined gin distillery and visitor centre.
300 – 600 VISITORS PER DAY
The company anticipates to produce thousands of litres of gin and attract 100,000 people to its visitor centre each year or about 334 per day – many of whom will travel via Whitchurch. Peak visiting times may see 600 visitors in a single day.
About 10,000 of the visitors each year will be the company’s key customers, employees and partner agencies. Plans stated that there will be 20 staff total, with 10 each at the production centre and visitor centre.
SIGNIFICANT MARKETING INITIATIVE
The company states that it will promote the attraction with a “significant marketing initiative here in the UK and globally”. They expect that over 1 million people will see their ‘postcard image’ of the Laverstoke site in the first year of its opening.
Already, some local Whitchurch businesses have started to plan for the hoped-for boost to local tourism. Our town offers train and bus services; as well as hotel facilities, pubs, restaurants and many shops where the tourists can visit, in addition to our very own popular tourist attraction, the Silk Mill.
Many of the redundant buildings around Laverstoke Mill have already been demolished, with just rubble remaining to be tidied away.
A garden, piazza, visitor centre, shop, courtyard, café, bar and elaborate greenhouse is planned for the site which straddles the River Test. The original water mill will be restored with a modern turbine. The mill was originally used to produce bank notes.
The raw spirit and botanicals will be brought to the site and the finished product will be sent by road tanker for bottling elsewhere in the UK. To accommodate the production, 6 large storage tanks with a capacity of 100,000 litres each; plus 4 smaller tanks of 30,000 litres each will be built on the southern part of the site.
Bacardi employs 6,000 people globally and has 27 production facilities around the world.