Scotland’s ‘first’ community-owned distillery GlenWyvis opened its doors on St Andrew’s Day to mark the return of whisky-making to Dingwall after almost a century.
The distillery will become one of a “select few” gin and malt whisky producers in Scotland. It revives the industry in the town 90 years after the last of the its original distilleries – Ferintosh, Ben Wyvis and Glenskiach – closed.
After hitting its £1.5m crowdfunding target last year, Glenwyvis launched a second share offer, with a target of £750,000, to meet continuing demand from locals and visitors who want to be part of the project. Almost 600 new members have invested some £340,000 in less than four months.
The project has since developed to a fully built distillery with the recent appointment of its first master distiller, Duncan Tait, and support staff in place for the first run of spirit.
The brainchild of farmer and helicopter pilot John McKenzie, GlenWyvis Distillery is “100% community-owned” and “100% powered by green energy”.
The community opening event was attended by invited guests from the local community and some of the 3,000 members of the GlenWyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society.
Mr McKenzie said: “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.”
Mr Tait 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.”