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Loch Lomond Distillers

Whisky Concerns


Glen Scotia: 750.000 litres
Loch Lomond: 10.000.000 litres  grain & 4.000.000 litres    malt

Hillhouse buys Loch Lomond
June, 2019

Loch Lomond Hillhouse Capital Management
Hillhouse Capital Management, a global investment firm which describes itself as focusing on “innovative businesses in growth industries”, has bought scotch whisky producer, the Loch Lomond Group, from Exponent Private Equity.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Since the original buyout of Loch Lomond from the Bulloch family in 2014, the company says it has invested significantly in growing its portfolio of brands, distillery and bottling infrastructure, global distribution platform, and management team. The business now generates about 70% of its revenue from more than 120 international markets, versus fewer than 10% at acquisition.

The announcement states that teaming up with Hillhouse offers a strong partner for the business to further develop its international presence, particularly in Asia where whisky has become increasingly popular in recent years, and a market where Hillhouse has deep knowledge and strong business relationships.

Hillhouse says it also brings to the partnership a strong track record of building long-term relationships with innovative consumer brands, such as Peet’s Coffee and Gimborn, in helping them expand their global presence and reputation.

Loch Lomond has a history dating back to the early 19th century and is a leading international producer of malt, blended and grain whisky.

Its key premium scotch whisky brands include Loch Lomond – ‘The Spirit of the Open’, Glen Scotia, and Littlemill, which claims to be the ‘oldest licensed distillery in Scotland’. It also produces the ‘High Commissioner’ and Loch Lomond blended scotch whiskies, as well as Glen’s vodka and Ben Lomond scottish gin.

The company’s production spans sites across Scotland. It operates its Loch Lomond malt and grain distilleries at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll and has its own bottling plant in Ayrshire.

Loch Lomond CEO Colin Matthews said: “Over the past five years we are proud to have transformed The Loch Lomond Group into a premium international spirits business with a strong focus on innovation and a portfolio of award-winning brands.

“We believe now is the right time to move forward into the next stage of our growth strategy as we look to innovate further, extend our portfolio of brands and continue to expand our international presence, particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.

“The team at Hillhouse have impressed us immensely, and we look forward to partnering with them as we embark on the next exciting stage of our journey. We share both their vision and dedication to premium consumer brands."

Hillhouse Capital partner, Wei Cao, added: “Hillhouse’s experienced operational team will work closely with Loch Lomond’s management to help it offer a premium consumer experience in international markets through channels like e-commerce and new retail.

“We believe that the strongest advantages in business are innovative and differentiated products and management teams, which is why we are so excited to help Loch Lomond realise the potential of its outstanding brands in huge new consumer markets, such as Asia.

June 2019
An Asia-based investment firm is buying out Loch Lomond Group, which owns Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown as well as the Littlemill single malt brand.

Loch Lomond barrel
New owner: Loch Lomond Group’s Scotch whisky operations are now owned by Hillhouse
Hillhouse Capital Management, a global investment management firm, will acquire the Scotch whisky producer from current owner Exponent for an undisclosed sum.

The deal includes the sale of the Loch Lomond malt and grain distillery at Alexandria in Dunbartonshire, Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown, a bottling plant in Catrine, Ayrshire plus the remaining stocks of closed distillery Littlemill.

Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group, said the buyout would enable to company to grow further internationally, particularly in Asia.

He said: ‘We believe now is the right time to move forward into the next stage of our growth strategy as we look to innovate further, extend our portfolio of brands and continue to expand our international presence, particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.’

Loch Lomond has been under the ownership of UK-based private equity management firm Exponent since 2014, when it was acquired from the Bulloch family.

Diverse portfolio: Loch Lomond Group also owns Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown

In the last five years Loch Lomond’s business has grown internationally, with overseas markets now representing 70% of the business, as opposed to less than 10% in 2014.

Wei Cao, partner at Hillhouse Capital, said: ‘Loch Lomond’s rich heritage in Scotch whisky gives the business a distinct advantage as they look to further build on their success across the world, especially in the increasingly discerning Asian spirits market.

‘Hillhouse’s experienced operational team will work closely with Loch Lomond’s management to help it offer a premium consumer experience in international markets through channels like e-commerce and new retail.

‘We believe that the strongest advantages in business are innovative and differentiated products and management teams, which is why we are so excited to help Loch Lomond realise the potential of its outstanding brands in huge new consumer markets, such as Asia.’

As well as the Loch Lomond, Glen Scotia and Littlemill whiskies, the group also produces the High Commissioner blend, as well as Glen’s vodka and Ben Lomond gin

Scotland: New whisky regs may force distillery changes
November, 2009
Scotland; Loch Lomond Distillery could be forced to close part of its production if the new Scotch whisky rules aren’t amended before they come in to force on November 23.

The new regulations say: “Single Malt Scotch Whisky” means a Scotch Whisky that has been distilled in one or more batches—

(a) at a single distillery; (b) from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals; and (c) in pot stills.”

Loch Lomond Distillery Company makes more than 20 million bottles of High Commissioner, but not in pot stills.

For the last two years the company, which is based in Alexandria near Glasgow, has been using an energy efficient single still.

A statement from the distillery said that unless consumers lobby MPs to adapt the new regulations governing what kind of stills can produce whisky, they may have to shut down some of their production process.

The distillery decided to use the single still as part of its drive to be more energy efficient. It also uses lightweight glass to reduce the amount of packaging sent to landfill and has been honoured by the Carbon Trust for 'Outstanding Achievement in Manufacturing Energy Efficiency' after installing a system which recycles heat and water used in the distilling process.

John Peterson, distilling director of Loch Lomond said: "We have a method that produces a very good malt but we are being penalised.

"We want to make the process better and save considerable amounts of energy. As it is we are preventing more than 1,400 tonnes of CO2 being released every year.

"Politicians are quick to shout about climate change and how industry has to find new ways to conserve energy and reduce carbon output but when companies like us try to do something innovate we get slapped down for it.

"We need a proper discussion on this. Our customers who enjoy good quality whisky at reasonable prices, and who want to continue doing so, need to ask their MP to object to the legislation before it's too late."

Loch Lomond Whiskies
De Loch Lomond Distillery is gevestigd in Alexandria. Dit dorpje ligt aan de oevers van Loch Lomond, het grootste meer van Schotland.

De distilleerderij beschikt over een groot aantal verschillende distilleerketels.  Hierdoor is men in staat maar liefst 8 verschillende stijlen whisky te maken. Dit maakt de Loch Lomond Distillery uniek in Schotland.

Loch Lomond innovatief en onderscheidend
Van illegaal distilleren naar grote – accijnsvrije - pakhuizen in de industriële revolutie. Dit deel van Schotland heeft een cruciale rol gespeeld in de whiskygeschiedenis. Vele distilleerderijen in de omgeving sloten hun deuren, maar Loch Lomond bleef over.

De geschiedenis van Loch Lomond gaat terug tot 1814, maar de huidige distilleerderij werd – door de toenmalige eigenaren van Littlemill – gebouwd in 1965.

Unieke stills
Loch Lomond is sindsdien uitgegroeid tot één van de meest innovatieve en grootste distilleerderijen van Schotland. De distilleerderij beschikt bijvoorbeeld over een uniek aantal distilleerketels:

- Straight-neck stills 3x
- Traditional swan-neck stills 1x
- Continuous Coffey malt still 1x
- Continuous Coffey grain stills 2x

Loch Lomond stills
De Staight-neck stills – ook wel Loch Lomond stills genoemd – hebben een extra lange nek en zijn momenteel alleen bij de Loch Lomond Distillery in gebruik.

8 verschillende stijlen whisky
Door het gebruik van geturfde en ongeturfde gerst en verschillende gistsoorten in combinatie met de verschillende distilleerketels kan men bij Loch Lomond 8 verschillende stijlen whisky produceren.

Een nieuw begin voor Loch Lomond
In 2014 gooide men het roer om bij Loch Lomond. Tot dan toe produceerde de distilleerderij vooral blended whisky. Dit is nog steeds een belangrijk onderdeel, maar het accent ligt nu vooral op de productie van single malt whisky.

Met de focus op de productie van single malt whisky komen de – eerder genoemde - unieke eigenschappen van de distilleerderij goed naar voren. Loch Lomond laat zich eindelijk zien aan de wereld!

Sterke groei
En de nieuwe koers slaat aan bij de whiskyliefhebbers. Loch Lomond Whisky heeft de afgelopen vijf jaar namelijk een sterke groei doorgemaakt en behoort tot de vijf snelst groeiende single malt whiskymerken ter wereld.

Loch Lomond klaar voor de toekomst
Mede door het succes van de afgelopen jaren heeft Loch Lomond het merk in 2020 volledig vernieuwd qua verpakking en core-range.

De core-range van Loch Lomond is uitgebreid met een 14, 21 en 30 jaar oude whisky. En ook Inchmurrin en Inchmoan – de Island Collection – maakt nu deel uit van de Loch Lomond-range.

Smaakprofielen en whiskystijlen
Dankzij duidelijke proefnotities op het etiket kan de consument makkelijk door het assortiment navigeren en zo eenvoudig kennis maken met de verschillende smaakprofielen en whiskystijlen die de distilleerderij de whiskyliefhebber kan bieden.

3 stijlen Loch Lomond Single Malt 12 Years Old
De drie 12 jaar oude whisky’s vormen het hart van het assortiment. Daarnaast demonstreert Loch Lomond het vermogen om een reeks whisky’s met een totaal verschillend smaakprofiel te creëren; van de lichte en fruitige Inchmurrin tot de zwaar geturfde Inchmoan, met daartussen de Loch Lomond 12 YO.

Meer Loch Lomond
De distilleerderij ligt ingeklemd tussen de rivier Leven en de spoorlijn. Het is een industrieel ogend terrein met grote pakhuizen en hoog opgestapelde whiskyvaten zo ver het oog reikt.

Het terrein werd in 2014 helemaal opgeknapt. Van de buitenkant van de gebouwen zal geen enkel whiskyhart sneller gaan kloppen. Eenmaal binnen zal dat anders zijn. Hier staan de verschillende distilleerketels van Loch Lomond. Deze zijn indrukwekkend om te zien.

Loch Lomond Cooperage
Ook de bij de distilleerderij behorende kuiperij is indrukwekkend. Per jaar worden er in de Loch Lomond Cooperage zo’n 20.000 vaten gemaakt en herstelt.

De ‘barrel makers’ oftewel ‘coopers’ hebben een intens en zwaar beroep en krijgen een target opgelegd om een bepaald aantal vaten per week te maken c.q. te herstellen. Een vakmanschap dat niet voor iedereen is weggelegd.

De Loch Lomond Distillery is één van de vier distilleerderijen in Schotland waar een cooperage op locatie is gevestigd.

Importeur Nederland
De Monnik Dranken is officiële Nederlandse importeur van Loch Lomond Whiskies dat onderdeel is van de Loch Lomond Group. Hiertoe behoren – naast Loch Lomond Whiskies – ook Glen Scotia uit de roemruchte whiskyregio Campbeltown, Glen’s Vodka en Ben Lomond Gin.

Arjan Hartkamp – Sales Ambassador
Heeft u vragen over de merken van Loch Lomond Group? Dan kunt u altijd contact opnemen met onze sales ambassador Arjan Hartkamp. Arjan werkt exclusief voor de merken van Loch Lomond Whisky, Glen Scotia Whisky, Littlemill Whisky en Ben Lomond Gin. Hij komt graag bij u langs in de winkel of in uw horecazaak voor vrijblijvend advies of vraag eens naar de mogelijkheden voor het houden van een (online) proeverij!

Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse was originally established as an independent blender and bottler to supply A. Bulloch & Co’s chain of shops with own-label whiskies. It expanded into vodka, gin, rum and other spirits and even picked up a handful of its own distilleries, including Loch Lomond in Alexandria.

The business and bottling facility in Catrine, Ayrshire, are now owned and operated by Loch Lomond Distillers.

In 1974 Alexander (Sandy) Bulloch, chairman of A. Bulloch & Co., founded Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Ltd as a private blending and bottling facility to supply the family’s chain of shops with its own label gin, vodka and whisky. The Bulloch family can trace its connections with whisky back to 1842, when Gabriel Bulloch partnered with JH Dewar in a Scotch wholesaling business in Glasgow.

By the 1970s, A. Bulloch & Co operated around 25 shops across Scotland, with Glen Catrine supplying its own-label spirits. However the business grew rapidly, and by 2013 was producing over 36.5 million bottles of whisky and other spirits per year. Among its brands were the hugely popular High Commissioner blended Scotch and the UK’s second best-selling vodka, Glen’s.

In 1986 the group acquired Loch Lomond distillery from Inver House Distillers during a downturn in the market, and began producing its own grain whisky and spirits at the site in 1993. The following year it added Glen Scotia and Littlemill distilleries to its portfolio through its acquisition of Gibson International, although it closed and sold the latter distillery almost immediately.

In 2014 the group sold its whisky distilleries, along with the Glen Catrine bottling plant, High Commissioner and Glen’s vodka brands, to Exponent Private Equity.

Noble Rebel range
Loch Lomond Group launches new whisky brand
16 February, 2023

Loch Lomond Group has launched Noble Rebel, a new blended malt Scotch whisky brand, available in three distinct expressions, Orchard Outburst, Smoke Symphony and Hazelnut Harmony.

The releases include a series of illustrations that detail the stories, layers and tasting notes of each expression, complemented by Noble Rebel’s premium embellished bottle.

Michael Henry, master blender at Loch Lomond Group, said: “Noble Rebel is an exciting new addition to the growing Loch Lomond Group portfolio. At the heart of each expression is our shared passion for blending finely curated malts into a product of beauty. Bringing new ideas to old ways and deeply-rooted traditions, our drams are modern masterpieces that welcome newcomers with open arms, and delight old friends alike.”

Matured in ex-bourbon casks, the Orchard Outburst malt contains whisky distilled with Chardonnay wine yeast. Smoke Symphony is finished in Rioja wine casks, with Hazelnut Harmony being finished in toasted American oak casks.

All the no-age-statement blended malt whiskies are non-chill filtered, natural in colour and bottled at 46% abv, under master blender Michael Henry at Loch Lomond Distillery.  

Each edition of Noble Rebel is available from 16 February here, for an rrsp of £40 per 70cl bottle. Noble Rebel will also be available from 1 March 2023 at

Loch Lomond Group launches new whisky brand Noble Rebel
The Loch Lomond Group have released three blended whiskies as part of a new range.

February 16, 2023

Loch Lomond Group has announced the launch of Noble Rebel - a new blended malt Scotch whisky brand that, they say, creatively pushes boundaries in the pursuit of flavour creation.

Available in three distinct expressions – Orchard Outburst, Smoke Symphony and Hazelnut Harmony – the flavours of Noble Rebel are brought to life through a series of vivid illustrations that showcase the stories and tasting notes of each blend.

Each of the whiskies has achieved its flavour profile thanks to the distillation methods and casks available to the Loch Lomond Group,

The Scotch Whisky Association doesn't allow flavouring to be added, so distillers need to work with yeasts, still shape and size and casks to achieve a desired flavour.

This launch comes at a time when recent data shows that 34 per cent of 18-24 year-olds want to see more flavoured whisky, such as honey and caramel flavours. It's a similar story for the 35–54 age bracket, who also chose flavoured products.

Noble Rebel Orchard Outburst
Noble Rebel
Matured in ex-bourbon casks, Orchard Outburst has tasting notes of crisp, ripe orchard fruits with salty notes, resulting in an explosion of zest with hints of zingy lemon and lime.

This malt contains whisky distilled with Chardonnay wine yeast, an unusual ingredient in whisky distillation which helps to intensify fruit and citrus flavours in the finished blend.

Noble Rebel Smoke Symphony

Smoke Symphony is the smoky one, with hints of peat smoke and a spicy kick. This smoke is complemented by subtle berry tartness.
Finished in Rioja wine casks, Smoke Symphony conveys notes of smoke, spice and dark berries.

Nobel Rebel Hazelnut Harmony
Nobel Rebel
Hazelnut Harmony mingles nuts with a hint of sweet honeycomb, with pear and oak.

Completing the trio of expressions, Hazelnut Harmony is finished in toasted American oak casks, which adds a sweet flavour of honey, vanilla and hazelnut to the whisky.

Each blended, no-age-statement malt whisky is non-chill filtered, natural in colour and bottled at 46% ABV, and cost £40.

Each Noble Rebel expression is distilled, matured and blended under the expert eye of master blender, Michael Henry, at Loch Lomond Distillery.

Using a combination of traditional swan-neck, and its signature high and low-cut straight-neck pot stills, Loch Lomond Distillery has a whisky-making capability like no other.

The straight-neck stills, which are entirely unique to the distillery, provide Michael with greater control over the distillation process, allowing him to carefully manipulate the flavour profile of each whisky.

Of the new releases, Michael said: “Noble Rebel is an exciting new addition to the growing Loch Lomond Group portfolio.

June 17, 2024

Michael Henry opens the door and we enter a stillhouse unlike any other. There’s swan-necked pots in the far corner, but before them are hybrid stills made up of a pot still base with a straight neck containing rectifying plates: one in the wash, and 17 in the spirit, which also has a cooling ring. Of course it has. It’s all about reflux. It’s also about producing as many variations on flavour as possible.

As we’re in the Loch Lomond distillery in Alexandria (where Michael is master blender), you might think that those straight neck stills are Lomond stills. They aren’t. These were modelled on a design installed by Duncan Thomas at the Littlemill distillery in the 1950s.

Around the same time, Hiram Walker’s engineer Alastair Cunningham had a similar idea His design had three moveable baffle plates in the neck which could be cooled individually, varying the amount of reflux.

He first ran at the Inverleven malt distillery housed within Dumbarton grain distillery and was called a ‘Lomond’ still, presumably because Dumbarton is fairly close to the loch …Lomond stills also operated at Miltonduff ((making Mosstowie) Glenburgie (Glencraig), and Scapa. All are discontinued.  

One of Loch Lomond’s straight necked stills
‘The characteristics of a swan neck pot defines the profile of the spirit,’ Michael explains. ‘The straight-neck stills, however, have flexibility and were created to produce a triple-distilled style in double distillation’.

By operating different cut points (high-strength at 85%, low at 68%) and levels of peating on the straight neck stills, he collects seven different flavour streams. Then there’s the new make from the swan neck stills to add in. Each release of Loch Lomond single malt is a blend of different distillates.

Engrossed in the stills, we’ve not even talked about fermenting. There’s no surprise that there’s different yeasts used, or that the minimum length is 92 hours to increase lactobacillus and esterification. Then, blithely, he says, ‘during silent season we just leave washbacks to get on with it. It’s a three week ferment.’

‘Funky?’ I ask.

“Oh yes… the wash is,’ he shakes his head and smiles, ‘but it distills beautifully’.

There’s more … of course there is. The malt side also has a Coffey still which distils a 100% malted barley wash (common practise in the 19th and early 20th century). The distillery asked the SWA if there could be a separate definition for this style, but the suggestion was turned down. So it’s ‘grain’, but not grain as we know it. That’s made at the site’s grain distillery. Confused?

With ‘grain’ now being used to label rye, oat and mixed mashbill whiskies from pot stills as well as Loch Lomond’s malt ‘grain’, maybe it’s time to re-examine the definition.

Everything here starts in the lab
What could be interpreted as wild, random experimentation is in fact based on research set up by Loch Lomond’s former production director John Peterson. It is a self-contained, virtually self-sufficient (all it misses is a maltings) entity, a treasury of whisky knowledge whose work has barely been acknowledged.

That’s when it dawns on me. Alexandria. Not this one, but Egyptian city of legend founded by Alexander the Great in 331. A seat of learning, the home of a great library which was what we’d call a research centre rather than just a repository for scrolls. It was called the Mouseion (‘seat of the Muses’) from which we get museum.

A Greek enclave, Alexandria was where ideas were hatched, experiments took place, religions mingled and fractured. By the 5th century it was the largest city in the (western) world, a nexus of learning and knowledge, the centre of literature, science, philosophy and medicine

‘Water of Life’ author C.Anne Wilson in her investigations into early distillation places it as a home to the Dionysian mystery cult which, she argues, used distilled wine in its ceremonies, and, later, a home for Gnostic fire baptism ceremonies where distilled wine was ignited on the foreheads of acolytes.

Maria Hebraea, alchemist, scientist, distiller
Alexandria was also home to Maria Hebraea (Maria the Jewess, Maria Prophetissima) whose role in the early days of distillation, particularly at this time of the growing (and belated) awareness of womens’ role in spirits, seems to have been forgotten (or maybe I’ve just been looking in the wrong places).

She perfects various types of distillation equipment, invents the three spouted still (tribikos), and gave her name to the balneum Mariae, (bain marie) which is still used today.

As an alchemist she was investigating the nature of the building blocks of existence – proto-chemistry, chemical metaphors, occult practise, the interaction of matter with spirit, the genders of metals. Alexandria comes before Salerno, or Cordoba, even predating the refining of distilling which took place in Persia.

An early Balneum Mariae
And now there’s a town in the Vale of Leven with the same name. Not named after Alexander the Great, but its 18th century landowner Alexander Smollett. It too has been a place of enquiry.

On the way to the distillery we passed a vast red sandstone Victorian palace which in the way of these things started life as the headquarters of a luxury car maker. Alexander (the name keeps popping up) Girvan’s Hozier Engineering started making Argyll cars in Glasgow in 1899.

He moved the business to Alexandria in 1905 building the palace with its marble interior, golden dome, and telephones. At its height it was making 3,000 cars a year – the biggest car factor in Europe at the time. It collapsed just at the start of WWI when the site was requisitioned by the war office and for the next half century it made munitions. It’s now a shopping centre.

A psychedelic Argyll Cars ad from 1906
Ideas seem to ferment here, thoughts and plan bubbling to the surface but never seem to stick. Instead there’s layering and repurposing. As one thing dies, another emerges. A place making. Before cars, torpedoes, or whisky it was cloth: cotton bleaching, printing, and dyeing.

In 1897 The Alexandria Works (formed by the Croftingea and Levenfield sites) and other enterprises merged to form the United Turkey Red Company (UTR), making dyes for the textile factories.

Turkey Red (is it me or is that crying out to be a whisky brand?) was a bright crimson dye prized for not fading or running. The colour came from the root of the madder plant and while the process was long known in India, China and the near east, as with spirits it was late to Europe only arriving in the 18th century. (‘Turkey’ refers to the country not the bird).



Six years later, Loch Lomond built its distillery on the site. Some of the old UTR buildings have been repurposed into warehouses. Others sit empty. That layering again. (As a side note, during WWII the old Levenbank dye works was used as a victualling store for the Admiralty storing Navy rum for the sailors’ daily tot).

Loch Lomond was established to produce whisky destined for value for money brands, a high volume, low margin business. If that was the model it made sene to have everything under one roof.

Blenders also need a wide variety of flavours and texture. Loch Lomond took that principle, plus its own ethos of self-sufficiency and created the most innovative distillery in Scotland. When Japanese single malt appeared on the export markets at the start of this century, everyone got excited about how innovative the country’s distillers were with their multiple streams and in-house blended single malts.

Meanwhile, Loch Lomond was already doing the same. The only thing was, they didn’t tell anybody about it. Even now at a time when Scotch distilleries are, rightly, talking about ‘new’ ways of approaching whisky, Loch Lomond can shrug and says, ‘aye, but we’ve been doing that for decades.’ Michael doesn’t seem to mind. It’s just what they’ve alway done.

Michael Henry: Master blender at work
What has happened however is greater visibility and, thanks to a more enlightened wood policy ever grater quality. Loch Lomond now plays at all levels of the market and with Glen Scotia is building a new cult Campbeltown malt. As this new approach develops so Michael and blender Ashley Smith have a platform to show the flavour possibilities which exist. It’s not just the price range which is covered, but the flavour spectrum as well.

Think back to Maria in that other Alexandria: the questions, the refining and multidisciplinary learning, the flames on foreheads, those scientific investigations which examined the properties of material, in which one stream led to distillation and another to dyeing.

Then see how all of that ancient understanding of transmutation spread out across the world and through time, continually evolving, reshaping itself; one day ending up in the west of Scotland where it spreads again. Dye for high fashion, drink for pleasure and a modern Dionysian cult.

It is a human story of trial, error, success, and also one of a relentless belief in building. Loch Lomond, the Mouseion of Scotch.

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