The Isle of Barra in Scotland is set to become the location of a new £12 million whisky and gin distillery.
Isle of Barra Distillers has received approval from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to proceed with their ambitious project to construct a distillery and visitor centre. Anticipated to be finished by spring 2025, this endeavor is expected to generate a minimum of 40 jobs in the northern part of the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, offering a much-needed boost to the local economy.
The new distillery is estimated to produce 200,000 litres of alcohol annually. This quantity should be sufficient to fill 1,600 casks each with a capacity of 200 litres, with the potential for expansion if the workforce grows.
A Boost to the Isle of Barra Economy
Established by Michael and Katie Morrison, a husband and wife team, in 2016, Isle of Barra Distillers aspires to create employment opportunities and stimulate the local economy.
Michael commented, "To truly appreciate the impact of this project in terms of employment opportunities, if a similar development were to be constructed in Glasgow, it would create 23,000 jobs in the first year and 64,000 jobs by the tenth year."
Michael and Katie take pride in not only operating the westernmost distillery in Scotland but also the first legal single malt distillery on the island where they are raising their family. Michael expressed, "There is still a long journey ahead, but this marks a significant step in the construction of the Isle of Barra’s inaugural legal single malt whisky distillery."
A Time of Expansion for the Scotch Whisky Industry
The Scotch whisky industry has witnessed substantial investment in recent years, spanning from major distilleries to boutique operations, all focused on adopting sustainable practices.
In the past two years alone, we have observed:
- Young Spirits tripling its revenue in three years.
- £30 million invested in GlenDronach distillery.
- £88 million allocated for two Speyside distilleries.
- The commencement of Cabrach Distillery construction.
- £22.5 million investment secured by a Scottish whisky distillery.
Sustainability at the Core of the Distillery
Isle of Barra Distillers' actions are driven by a commitment to give back to the local community. They have pledged to donate 1% of their total net profits towards the establishment of the Isle of Barra Distillers Foundation.
The future Foundation will focus on the development of the Isle of Barra, providing assistance with housing and community projects. Michael explained, "Our long-term objective is that by the thirteenth year, or once our ten-year-old malt is released, we will be in a position to assist in constructing affordable homes that the foundation can sell at cost price to young families, alleviating the housing issue on the island of Barra."
The new distillery will not only benefit the local community but also the environment. Designed by Denhen Youd architects, the distillery will incorporate sustainability into its design.
Specifically, an Ayr-based firm will design a heat recovery system to harness the heat generated during the distillation process and redirect it to the visitor centre. The company is also exploring the possibility of implementing a carbon capture system to cultivate feed for local salmon farmers.
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