The distillery will be the first new farm distillery in Campbeltown, once the Victorian whisky capital, in over 180 years. The most recent addition to Campbeltown's distilling scene was Glengyle distillery, maker of Kilkerran single malt, which began producing in 2004 (though there was a previous Glengyle, which closed in 1925, the current Glengyle was a completely remade as a new distillery).
R&B have already purchased Dhurrie Farm in Machrihanish, where they will be creating Campbeltown’s first farm-to-bottle single malt. The new distillery, which joins three existing Campeltown distilleries, will also include a visitor centre and whisky club.
The distillers are expected to finalise planning during 2022, and aim to break ground in 2023. The planned initial production output of The Machrihanish Distillery will be 400,000 lpa (litres of pure alcohol) per year.
It is R&B’s ambition to create a sustainable net-zero distilling process. They also plan to use biological farming practices and create greater biodiversity on the farmland. Of course, the new distillery will also generate employment opportunities in a remote area that was once home to over 30 distilleries, creating over 20 jobs.
R&B Distillers’ co-founder, Bill Dobbie, whose family were from the Campbeltown area, stated, “When the business was founded in 2015, we had a clear ambition to create Scotland’s leading artisanal distiller. Building on Raasay’s nascent success, and noticing the clear global demand for supreme quality drinks with unquestionable provenance, today’s announcement confirms significant progress towards this goal”.
Donald Kelly, Argyll & Bute councillor, commented, “We are delighted to see what could be the beginning of a renaissance of whisky distilling in the Campbeltown region. With years gone by since we were Scotland’s home of whisky, seeing the return of a farm-to-bottle distillery that will provide important local employment and a vibrant visitor attraction is something that really excites me and the broader community.”
Andrew Smith, local businessman and family friend, added, “When you see what Bill Dobbie and his team have done on the Isle of Raasay, to do the same in Kintyre can only be described as exciting. Being from the family that owned the Drumore Farm, one of the last farm distilleries in Campbeltown, which closed in 1837, I am over the moon to see the return of farm distilling in the Campbeltown region.”