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50 & 20 Years Ago

40 Years Ago: Storing 63 million gallons of whisky

Taken from Building with Steel, 1965

The photograph shows the completed project of 19 blocks capable of storing 63 million gallons of Whisky

The group of warehouses completed last year for the Distillers Company Limited at Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, was built over a period of five years. It comprises 19 blocks of single-storey warehouses covering 62 acres and was built at a cost of £41/4 million.

Some of the casks containing maturing whisky stacked in racks six and seven tiers high and raised by mobile electrical stackers equipped with flame-proof motors

The steelwork being erected for a single-storey warehouse

Each of the 300sq. ft. blocks is divided into three 100 ft by 300ft sections which are in effect independent warehouses with individual entrance and emergency doors. Certain aspects of the design, two of which are mentioned later, had to conform to the requirements of H.M. Customs and Excise Department.

In 1959 Distillers foresaw the need to hold larger stocks of maturing Scotch whisky to meet the growing demand from world markets – their existing warehousing arrangements were proving totally inadequate. It was neither practical or economical to build additional warehouses at each distillery, so the company decided to build the 19 warehouses on ground adjoining ten existing warehouses which formed part of the former Glenochil distillery at Menstrie.

The new warehouses have a total storage capacity for approximately 63 million proof gallons of whisky and have involved the use of 5,700 tons of structural steelwork together with 14,250 tons of steel for the racks.

More than 1,500 rigid vinyl corrugated sheets were used above the gangways to admit daylight. These were specially developed to meet H.M. Customs and Excise requirements regarding toughness, flexibility and impact strength. The material is aid to be the first plastic capable of being riveted on site. Another requirement was that the nuts on the hook bolts securing the aluminium sheet to the portals should be welded with bolts.

The project was designed and supervised by the Scottish Engineering Department of the Distiller’s Company.

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