Community whisky distillery receives £140k funding boost to help revive area

It is hoped the new distillery will attract visitors from near and far, to help with depopulation concerns.cabrach

Cabrach community whisky distillery in Speyside receives £140,000 funding boost in bid to revive area Social Investment Scotland

A community-led whisky distillery in Moray has received £140,000 in funding to help revive the local area.

The Cabrach Distillery, on the edge of Speyside, has received the funding from Social Investment Scotland (SIS), and is gearing up to open in late summer.

The remote community was once home to a thriving illicit whisky trade, a legacy which the distillery is celebrating with the production of a new Single Malt Scotch Whisky and dedicated heritage centre.

The funding, which comprises a loan and a grant, will support the distillery with setting up for the bottling of its inaugural whisky proposition The Feering, which is a Speyside blended malt Scotch whisky derived from casks.

The Cabrach Trust, a registered charity, was set up in response to the need to preserve the cultural heritage of The Cabrach and safeguard its remote community.

It was founded by Grant Gordon OBE, a philanthropist and member of the William Grant family of distillers. 

The support comes as the area of Cabrach has experienced significant loss and depopulation over the last century. At the turn of the 20th century, the population was around 1,000 people but today it is under 100 with the Trust working to safeguard the community.

The Cabrach Distillery plansSocial Investment Scotland

Creating a dozen local jobs, it is hoped the new distillery will attract visitors from near and far, generating income to be reinvested into regeneration plans.

As well as the distillery, the Trust also runs the Cabrach Discovery Trail and has recently launched a new Cabrach Tweed.

Meanwhile The Old Smiddy – a restored farm bothy at the heart of Inverharroch Farm – hosts rural skills, wellbeing and events programmes.

There are also future plans for the development of a café and heritage centre on the distillery site along with the restoration of the Old Cabrach School Hall and House as the Trust’s learning hub.

Jonathan Christie, chief executive at The Cabrach Trust, said: “The Cabrach is renowned for its role in the birth of Scotch Whisky and completion of The Cabrach Distillery will contribute to a tale of renewal like no other.

“Our distillery will serve as the economic lungs of our community-led regeneration vision, creating much-needed permanent, skilled employment whilst attracting thousands of visitors to this special place, who will be able to discover the area’s rich history, heritage, and natural beauty.

“The support of likeminded partners such as Social Investment Scotland is invaluable. This is a bold idea, a unique social enterprise, being made possible through the sustained support of the Cabrach community, alongside an exciting blend of funding partners.”

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at Social Investment Scotland, added: “The Cabrach is filled with a rich heritage of whisky making and we’re pleased to support the Trust with its overarching plans for regeneration, creating secure and skilled jobs in the area.

“By providing access to affordable finance, in this case to help the distillery prepare for production, SIS is championing local organisations and social enterprises of all sizes to deliver greater impact for the communities and people they work with.”

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