Dingwall bid for community-owned distillery

A bid to create Scotland’s first community-owned craft whisky distillery has been launched in the Highland town of Dingwall.

The Glenwyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society has launched a Community Share Offer to raise over £1.5 million of investment to help bring whisky distilling back to the heart of Dingwall.

The launch, organised in conjunction with Community Shares Scotland (CSS), will offer investment opportunities for as little as £250 to locals living in all IV (Inverness) postcode areas.

It is hoped this will ensure a high level of local ownership of the new GlenWyvis Distillery, but the share offer is also open to whisky enthusiasts around the world.

Investment opportunities rise in tranches to a maximum investment of £100,000.

Inspiration has been taken from former distilleries in the Dingwall area — Ferintosh, Ben Wyvis in Dingwall and Glenskiach in Evanton.

The original Ferintosh Distillery was established by the Forbes of Culloden family in 1690, on the Black Isle just east of Dingwall, and is one of the oldest recorded whisky distilleries in Scotland.

The new distillery will bring back craft whisky distilling to the Dingwall area, about 90 years after the last of the town’s original distilleries closed down.

The famous Ferintosh brand was much loved throughout Scotland and was a favourite of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns, who lamented: “Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost! Scotland lament frae coast to coast!” when the distillery closed in 1785.

The new GlenWyvis Distillery will be built on a farm above the town of Dingwall and will be powered by green energy.

The distillery is the brainchild of local farmer John F Mckenzie, supported by a board of directors and local community representatives.

“From the outset we have envisaged the project as more than a distillery,” said Mckenzie.

“It is an opportunity for all social investors to help reinvigorate the historic town of Dingwall.

“GlenWyvis will be built on its whisky heritage, its community-ownership and its environmental credentials.”

Construction of the distillery is due to start in June 2016 with the first run of whisky planned for Burns Night, January 25, 2017.

Kelly McIntyre, programme manager, CSS said: “This is one of the biggest community projects we have been involved in and we hope it will make a seismic impact in the kind of projects that we will see coming forward to work with Community Shares Scotland in the future.”