Dunnet Bay's Castletown Mill distillery conversion approved

Dunnet Bay's Castletown Mill distillery conversion approved

The new distillery will be the brand home and visitor centre for Dunnet Bay Distillers' Stannergill Whisky

20 February 2023

Scotland's Dunnet Bay Distillers and Organic Architects have announced the approval of plans to convert the historic Castletown Mill in Caithness into a distillery.

It will become the brand home of Stannergill Whisky, the latest addition to Dunnet Bay’s portfolio alongside its Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka. Dunnet Bay Distillers founders Martin and Claire Murray took ownership of the mill, close to their company's current headquarters in Caithness, in late 2020.

The conversion of the building – which King Charles III had previously expressed a desire to see saved – will get underway in April of this year. One completed, the distillery will become a part of the Highland whisky trail with a bespoke visitor facility on the popular North Coast 500 travel route.

An architects' impression of the Castletown Mill conversion, which will house a distillery and visitor centre

Martin Murray said: "The heritage of the building grounds the new Stannergill Whisky in the character of its location. Locals remember working and living in the building and King Charles once said he ‘could not bear to see the Castletown Mill become more and more deteriorated.’ Exciting times are ahead, and I am particularly pleased that we are able to show that historic buildings can be given a new life."

Organic Architects, established in 2009, has assisted with a number of new craft distillery building projects in Scotland, including conversions for Lindores Abbey and Nc'Nean and new builds for Ardnamurchan and the Moffat Distillery (still under construction).

Andrea Wise, Organic Architects' founder and director, said: "We want to see Castletown Mill flourish again not only as a whisky distillery but also as a visitor destination to be enjoyed. The former grain mill is prominent alongside the route of the North Coast 500, yet it has lain empty for decades. It has a heroic scale: it contains impressive large internal volumes which would never be built in a new distillery.

"Our architects and designers have beautiful plans to revitalise the building. It is made from local Caithness stone, which makes it particularly robust as befits a local distillery which will hopefully occupy the building for generations to come."

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