The Isle of Harris Distillery opened its doors on Thursday, September 24, 2015, the culmination of a seven year drive to establish the Hebridean island's first commercial whisky distillery. The Social Distillery, as it has become known, will bring a hugely important economic boost to the island ultimately providing 20 vital jobs in an area where long-term employment is difficult to find.
And reflecting the Social Distillery's place at the heart of the island, the whole population of Harris had been invited to take part in the opening celebrations.
"Our story is absolutely connected to island life," said Managing Director Simon Erlanger, "it's about the people of Harris and we want to show that in the celebrations for our opening."
Chairman and Founder of IHD Anderson Bakewell said: "It is on this special island that conditions prevail for the production and maturation of a unique and exceedingly fine malt whisky. As if that was not enough, we have every expectation that it should inspire creative initiatives- entrepreneurial, cultural and social- for the benefit of the island's future, helping to retain those here and attract back those who left."
The official opening began at 2pm on September 24 with a ceremony at the newly- built distillery in Tarbert, at which three generations of the island's people took the leading role. Retired Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles John Murdo Morrison, MBE, the distillery's Guest Team Manager and mother of two Shona Macleod and children from Harris's two primary schools, which have been working on a project on the new distillery, were chosen to perform the opening ceremony. The Harris representatives each placed a peat on the fire in the distillery foyer, symbolising the warmth of Harris hospitality as well as playing an important part in the flavour of whisky. A speech was made to assembled guests by the Chairman and Founder Mr Bakewell who had the vision some years ago to create the distillery. "I had often wondered if it would be possible to put the essence of Harris in a bottle", said Anderson, "so a distillery was the natural answer."
Richard Paterson Celebrates 45 year milestone
Richard Paterson, one of the world's most loved whisky experts, has achieved yet another milestone in his illustrious career, as he celebrates 45 years in the whisky industry.
Richard's unwavering dedication to whisky began when he followed his Grandfather and Father into the industry. Richard honed his craft at A. Gillies & Company Whisky Blenders & Brokers where he worked as a production assistant, learning the art of whisky distilling and blending. He then joined Whyte & Mackay, becoming their Master Distiller at just 26.
Over the last 45 years his innate ability to assess and taste whisky has earned him the nickname of 'The Nose'. He has a reputation as both an exceptional whisky creator and an illustrious showman. He is loved by whisky fans the world over and has been responsible for creating some of the world's most iconic whiskies such as The Dalmore Trinitas, the Mackinlay's Shackleton blend and of course Whyte & Mackay Blended Scotch.
Loch Ewe distillery for sale
If you've ever dreamed of owning your own distillery (and who hasn't?), now could be your chance if you have £750,000 to spare. John and Frances Clotworthy are retiring from running their Drumchork Lodge Hotel and adjacent Loch Ewe distillery in deepest Wester Ross and are looking for potential buyers. The distillery first began to produce spirit in 2004, following the granting of a distilling licence the previous year, and present annual capacity is just 1,000 litres. The distillery comes with four x five litre copper alambic pot stills for distilling masterclasses and one x 1,800 litre copper pot still, along with two x 40 gallon copper alambic pot stills and a water feature for cooling in a separate area. Explaining their decision to retire, Frances adds that "We've loved the time spent here in the remote north-west Highlands, but it is just too far away now."
Game set and cask
From royalty to movie stars, The Famous Grouse Experience has this week played yet another ace in naming its range of distillery exclusive 'Bottle Your Own' casks after a glorious array of Famous Perthshire citizens. Global tennis star, Andy Murray, will take to centre court this month as the third in its Famous line-up.
The 'Bottle Your Own' single cask series are hand-picked as exceptional casks from the Glenturret Distillery by The Famous Grouse Master Blender, Gordon Motion. These are extremely collectable and the bottles from these casks are only available from the Glenturret Distillery shop and online on both the UK and global sites. The first two exclusive casks have already been snapped up by whisky fans. With seemingly no shortage of famous names to choose from, the team at the Experience have extended their celebrations for their third cask into the sporting arena and are marking the achievements of Andy Murray, another 'Famous' character from the local area.
Irish Distillers and microdistillery
Irish Distillers, the largest whiskey producer in Ireland and home to the iconic brands of Irish whiskey - Jameson, Powers, PADDY, Redbreast, Green Spot and Midleton Very Rare, has unveiled a new microdistillery in Midleton, Co. Cork. The microdistillery is a key innovation hub that will support the resurgence of Irish whiskey through experimentation with distillations of new and old styles of Irish whiskey.
The opening of the new facility marks the return to distilling in the Old Midleton buildings for the first time since 1975. An innovative array of whiskies, featuring a mix of cereals, will be distilled using a manual operation during the first year, while in phase two a microbrewery will be introduced that will enable the microdistillery to craft whiskies using a wider range of cereals and yeast strains.
The first Distiller of the microdistillery at Midleton has been announced as Karen Cotter - one of eight alumni of the Jameson Graduate Distiller Programme