Burns Night sees the spirit start flowing at community-owned GlenWyvis Distillery

The site will produce whisky and gin, with profits passed on to community projects at home and abroad

Community-owned distillery GlenWyvis has begun the production of spirit – and fittingly, it celebrated this milestone on Burns Day, 25 January.

Master distiller Duncan Tait and his team are bringing the industry back to Dingwall, in the Scottish Highlands, after nearly 100 years, at a site overlooking the historic town.

Established as a Community Benefit Society, the distillery is entirely powered by sustainable energy and aims to take a lead role in the regeneration of Dingwall and the wider community. 

The spirit begins to flow at the distillery

And with gin distillation moving to the site in the Spring, GlenWyvis is set to be one of a few dual whisky and gin producers in Scotland – part of its bid to offer something truly innovative and different in the burgeoning Scottish drinks market.

David O’Connor, chair of the distillery, said: “Duncan and the distillery team have been busy behind the scenes since the official opening of the distillery on 30 November.

“The results of their endeavours are now there for everyone to see. It is a truly historic day for the town and the distillery, and we have the casks onsite ready to fill with spirit that we believe will make GlenWyvis a name to reckon with in the whisky world.”

John McKenzie, founder and managing director, added: “Duncan and myself always had 25 January as a target date, not just because it’s my own birthday, but because it’s the day we celebrate one of Scotland’s greatest icons, Robert Burns.

Robert Burns wrote a lament to a Dingwall distillery

“The GlenWyvis connection with Burns – through the old Ferintosh Distillery that once operated just outside Dingwall, and which Burns lamented the loss of in his poem Scotch Drink – made this a fitting date to bring whisky distilling back to Dingwall.”

He added: “As a Community Benefit Society, thousands of people have come together to help build this distillery – and in turn, this will help with regenerating the town, creating jobs. Long-term, we will also see the profits being passed onto other worthwhile community projects both locally and further afield.

“With our first whisky now laid down, we must look to maximise the benefit to the town from visitors. Tourism, renewable energy, and food and drink are three huge things in Scotland; a distillery that is 100% powered by green energy ticks all three.”

Meanwhile, GlenWyvis continues to reap national and international recognition. The latest addition to a number of high profiles features sees the release of a short film from Co-operatives UK that looks at the ethos driving the GlenWyvis projects.

The film coincides with a further surge of investment from new members seeking to secure part-ownership of a distillery – with over £450,000 now invested in the GlenWyvis second open share offer.

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