Scotland business

Scots firm to develop whisky distillery in Inner Mongolia

whisky stills Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Production equipment for the distillery will be manufactured in Scotland and shipped to Inner Mongolia

An Angus firm has won a six-figure deal to develop what is believed to be Inner Mongolia's first whisky distillery.

Forfar-based Valentine International will act as project managers for the distillery, which will be built in Ordos.

The "design and build" contract with the Mengtai Group was signed at the recent World Chinese Entrepreneurs' Convention in London.

Mengtai's core businesses include coal production and electricity generation.

The deal follows a series of events, led by Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), which hosted business groups from Inner Mongolia under the SCC network's International Trade Partnership.

The project will see Mengtai provide all of the buildings and ancillary accommodation required for the distillery, while production equipment will be manufactured in Scotland and shipped to the Chinese autonomous region for assembly by Scottish engineers.

Image copyright Valentine International
Image caption Mengtai Group vice-chairman Ao Bo is pictured signing the distillery contract with David Valentine in London

Valentine International owner Dave Valentine, who specialises in establishing commercial ventures in China, said: "The project will deliver a multi million-pound export bonus for at least two Scottish companies still to be contracted for the design and build of the distillery production equipment and for the supply of bulk whiskies.

"As the project progresses there will be opportunities for skilled industry experts required to oversee the operation during the initial phases of the development."

It is understood that Valentine International is close to choosing contractors for the project, the first phase of which is expected to complete by the end of next year.

'Home of whisky'

Mengtai Chairman Ao FengTing said his ambition was to produce China's best quality whisky, which would be "globally recognised in terms of world rankings".

He added: "Scotland is the 'home of whisky' and has the greatest expertise in terms of distillery equipment manufacture and know-how."

SCC, which recently signed a Memorandum of Trade with the Inner Mongolian General Chambers of Commerce, described the deal as "great news for Scotland".

Chief executive Liz Cameron said: "This deal creates a significant opportunity for Scottish suppliers worth over £3m.

"We are confident of more investors coming to Scotland as a result.

"It is an example of what can be achieved by forging relationships and adding value and confidence between businesses across the globe."