CONSTRUCTION of a new gin distillery has reached a milestone with the River Test running freely through the site once more.
The water had been stopped from running through Laverstoke Mill to allow for the completion of major construction work for the scheme, which is set to become a major tourist attraction.
Will Brix, Bombay Sapphire visitor centre general manager, said getting the water flowing again was a real milestone for the multi-million pound scheme.
The project at the site, between Overton and Whitchurch, will create a distillery and visitor centre, which will boast a cafe, shop, visitor centre and bar on the banks of the River Test.
Visitors will be able to access the visitor centre without going into the gin factory itself.
A ‘heritage facility’ will celebrate the history of the mill site, complete with a glass floor through which the original horizontal water wheel can be viewed.
It is hoped that 100,000 visitors from around the world will visit the Bombay Sapphire site, boosting local businesses and local pride.
Mr Brix: “There’s still a lot to do but we’re on target to have everything completed by September.
“It wasn’t practical to have the river flowing through the site when we were building close to the banks, but we’re now able to re-open the river, which was a big deal for everyone on the site.”
The restoration work has involved tearing down some of the more undesirable structures at the site, which was used for two centuries by Portal’s to produce banknote paper for the Bank of England.
Bombay Spirits Company, which is part of Bacardi Ltd, intends to use the site as its sole production facility.
The project will create 35 new jobs in the area, 10 of which will be in the factory and 25 in the visitor centre and behind the scenes.