GLENWYVIS Distillery, based in the historic town of Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands, is today celebrating the official opening of what is believed to be the world’s first 100 per cent community-owned whisky distillery.
The landmark event on St Andrew’s Day (30.11.17) follows a highly-successful crowdfunding campaign and a two-year push to build a distillery that is not only community-owned but also 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.
The community opening will turn the spotlight of the whisky world on Dingwall and will be attended by invited guests from the local community and some of the 3,000-plus members of the GlenWyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society. One lucky member will be been selected by ballot to ‘cut the tape’ in the stillhouse to mark the occasion.
The new distillery will re-instate the iconic craft of whisky distilling* back into the area, some 90 years after the last local distillery closed. It will be a truly historic moment for GlenWyvis and the town of Dingwall.
The journey began with the GlenWyvis launching a highly successful community share offer in 2016 – raising £2.6 million to support its vision for the future. The project has since developed well beyond the greenfield site, to a fully built distillery with its first master distiller and support staff all set for the first run of spirit.
With whisky production beginning, the GlenWyvis team has been working around the clock to prepare the distillery for the official opening on St Andrew’s Day and also to bring the distillation of GlenWyvis gin home to Dingwall in early 2018. This will mark the next exciting phase and establish GlenWyvis as one of a select number of dual whisky and gin distilleries in Scotland.
GlenWyvis managing director and founder, John McKenzie, commented: “From the outset, we have envisaged the project as much more than a distillery. We recognised this was an opportunity for all social investors to help reinvigorate the town of Dingwall and build on our whisky heritage* through community-ownership.
“We have undertaken a massive outreach programme to build interest and investment in the project both locally and further afield. Our aim has always been to produce both high-quality Scottish whisky and craft gin – and to attract more visitors to the area.
“We are exploring options for distillery tours and a proposed GlenWyvis visitor experience that will help to benefit the community and develop Dingwall into a leading craft distillery town in Scotland, and a quality destination on the North Coast 500 tourist route.”
GlenWyvis, chair, David O’Connor, added: “We are now all set to move from commissioning to whisky production, and we are all extremely proud that this ambitious two-year project has reached the stage of the official opening today.
“This is a remarkable community project and the support has been overwhelming. With our second open share offer still ongoing, we have now raised over £3 million in a very short time and I believe that is a testament to the enduring appeal of Scottish whisky.
“Over 60 per cent of our members come from the local Highland area, and we’re using barley sourced from the local farmers’ co-op, Highland Grain. I’m immensely proud of the entire GlenWyvis team and we are all thrilled to be officially opening the distillery on St Andrew’s Day.”
The newly-appointed master distiller, Duncan Tait, will oversee final commissioning and the first the run of new make spirit in and is inspired by the unique possibilities this creates.
Duncan added: “To join a brand-new distillery and shape the flavour profiles of a new single malt from the start is a dream come true. The opening event marks the start of the next stage of this truly inspirational project. After today, we get down to the hard work of distilling a whisky that will put GlenWyvis and Dingwall on the international spirit map.”
Notes to editors:
Second Share offer investment – still open
GlenWyvis already had some 2,600 members who invested £2.6 million in the original share offer in 2016. A second open share offer has brought that total to over 3,150 members – with almost 600 new members investing some £340,000 in less than four months. The open share issue was launched to capitalise on continued interest from locals and visitors alike. The minimum investment is £250 for all investors.
GlenWyvis Gin is made from nine premium botanicals including locally-picked hawthorn. It has a crisp full-bodied taste with distinct hints of citrus coming through, with spices at the back of the palate. The distillery team is currently working on a number of product innovations to support the move of gin distillation to Dingwall in early 2018.
* Whisky has been made in the Dingwall area for centuries. The original Ferintosh Distillery was established just east of Dingwall by the Forbes of Culloden family in 1690. Ferintosh is one of the oldest recorded whisky distilleries and produced a whisky much loved throughout Scotland. Indeed, it was a favourite of Scotland’s great bard Rabbie Burns, who lamented: “Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost! Scotland lament free coast to coast!” … on its closure in 1784. Two other local distilleries, Ben Wyvis in Dingwall and Glenskiach in nearby Evanton, both closed in 1926 – but their names are now remembered with the opening of GlenWyvis Distillery in 2017.
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