New John O'Groats micro-distillery gets green light

New John O'Groats micro-distillery gets green light

New Scotch whisky micro-distillery and visitor centre set to open in 2021

News | 03 Mar 2020

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A new Scotch whisky micro-distillery – the most northerly distillery on the country's mainland – is set to open next year after planners gave it the green light.

The 32,670 sq ft site in John O'Groats will house a distillery, visitor centre and bonded warehouse, with construction due to start this summer. It will be the town's first Scotch whisky distillery since 1837 and will have the capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of spirit a year. Six jobs are expected to be created in the first year, including a master whisky maker and visitor centre manager.

The distillery and visitor centre will be housed in one building, which will have views across the Pentland Firth and has been designed to showcase the facility's two copper stills and traditional whisky-making process, and there will be a separate 1,500 sq ft dunnage warehouse to mature and store the Highland spirit.

Local husband and wife team Derek and Kerry Campbell are behind the project and have secured £198,000 of funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to help realise their vision.

Kerry said: "With a longstanding interest in the whisky industry, I began to truly appreciate quality Scotch whisky around 12 years ago and since then have developed a growing passion for Scotland's national drink. After many conversations with my husband around the idea of building our own distillery and creating our own whisky, I'm delighted that we are now one step closer to making these plans a reality having secured planning permission on our dream site at John O'Groats.

"With traditional methods at the heart of our plans and an ambition to showcase whisky distilling in John O'Groats to the world, we are looking forward to opening the doors to our micro-distillery in due course. The support we have received from the local community and business owners has been fantastic and we can't wait to welcome them to our distillery."

Keith Muir, head of business growth for Caithness and Sutherland at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "Tourism and food and drink are two key industries in Caithness and this project features both. As well as producing a brand new whisky, it will enhance the area's wider visitor offering, notably around the North Coast 500.

"We particularly welcome the improvement it will make to the look and feel of the John O'Groats 'end of the road' attraction, in bringing a long-disused site back into productive use."
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