A true whisky club under way in Scotland

While Americans were busy resting from their work and enjoying the long Labor Day weekend, workers in Ladybank, Scotland, were just beginning a unique construction project.

Scotland's first "private club" whisky distillery (shown here in an architect's sketch) began its $1.9 million first-phase construction at a location near St. Andrews on Thursday, the project funded by subscriptions from a global network of whisky fans. (See earlier story.)

The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club was dreamed up by James Thomson, 46, who ran a whisky distilling school at Bladnoch in Dumfries and Galloway. It is located on a former farm, and is expected to produce just under 9,500 gallons a year. It is planned that the membership will be closely involved in production decisions such as length of aging and type of casking, affecting the taste of the product.

Thomson, in an interview with local media that seemed part Q&A, part anti-establishment polemic, said the idea for a "co-creative" distillery came from his disillusionment with the distilling and production practices of an industry dominated by "inflexible multinational conglomerates," and his experience of training enthusiasts in the art of distilling.

The Distillers Club is limited to 1,250 members. Participants or their heirs are entitled to six bottles of whisky per year for the next 30 years. The 300 founding members each paid a one-time $6,000 for membership. Subsequent members will pay a higher fee.

Thomson plans to produce gin and other spirits along with single malt Scotch whisky. He said the total project cost is projected at $4.8 million.

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