Whisky galore: Plans unveiled for £6.5m island distillery

The Uist Distilling Company’s proposals for Gramsdale on Benbecula include single malt whisky, rum and gin production.

Plans have been unveiled for a new £6.5m island distillery.

The Uist Distilling Company’s proposals for Gramsdale on Benbecula, Outer Hebrides, include single malt whisky, rum and gin production.

The distillery complex will also include a visitor centre with a food outlet, “championing freshly made local products”.

The development is expected to bring 25 jobs to the island, along with around 60-70 indirect jobs for suppliers, farmers, crofters transport and other local and national businesses. 

Low carbon technologies have been used in the design, build and distillation process.

The building design will incorporate large glazed areas on either side, showcasing the copper whisky stills and visitor centre.

This will allow whisky-lovers from around the world to take in the magnificent views of North Uist’s white sandy beaches, the Monach Isles and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the hills of Harris to the north and the Isle of Skye to the east.

A planning application will be submitted this week to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, with production hoping to start in early 2022 if approved.

The Uist Distilling Company is owned by local businessmen Angus A. MacMillan and his son, Angus E. MacMillan.

Angus A. McMillan, chairman and chief executive, said: “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area. 

“We want to produce whisky, rum and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail, while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.”

Mr McMillan said he hoped to build strong relationships with other island distilleries in a bid to support the “economic prospects of Scotland and our wider international industry”.

Operations director, Angus E. MacMillan, said having a low carbon footprint was key to the plans.

He stated: “We are working with industry experts to design a spirit production process which is powered by renewable energy sources.

“This will lower the carbon output of the distillery and ensure we are at the forefront of the whisky industry’s move away from the use of fossil fuels.”

Community engagement drop-in sessions will be held in the coming weeks, where islanders will have the opportunity to see the plans in more detail and ask questions about the project.

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