Plans for first new whiskey distillery in Campbeltown in over 180 years

A top Scottish whiskey company known for their now-famous island distillery have just announced plans to create the first new whiskey distillery in Campbeltown in over 180 years.

R&B Distillers Limited, who built their first distillery on the tiny island of Raasay, just off the coast of Skye in 2014, have now set their eyes on another of Scotland’s top whiskey regions as the location for their second site.

The Machrihanish Distillery will be a new farm to bottle distillery and just the fourth based in the region which was once home to more than 30 in days gone by.

Co-founders Bill Dobbie and Alasdair Day have already completed the purchase of the Dhurrie Farm in Machrihanish.

The intention is to now begin building their distillery, complete with a visitor center and ultimately its own whiskey club, next year (2023).

The new site will have a production output of around 400,000 liters of pure alcohol per year and will feature a recipe in keeping with the Campbeltown style to complement its existing Isle of Raasay Single Malt.

The Machrihanish Distillery will be built at the site of Dhurrie Farm
The Machrihanish Distillery will be built at the site of Dhurrie Farm

They hope to create a sustainable net-zero distilling process that doesn’t use any fossil fuels in the production of their whisky.

In addition to that, they plan to use biological farming practices to ensure that they have a positive impact on the surrounding environment and create greater biodiversity on the farmland.

Speaking about the co-founder Bill Dobbie, said: “When the business was founded in 2015 we had a clear ambition to create Scotland’s leading artisanal distiller – building on Raasay’s nascent success, and noticing the clear global demand for supreme quality drinks with unquestionable provenance , today’s announcement confirms significant progress towards this goal.”

The Campbeltown region is an underserved, sleeping whiskey region in Scotland, once home to over thirty distilleries and now just three. The local community are welcoming the new inwards investment, as the company predicts to create over 20 new jobs.

In addition, R&B Distillers’ Co-founder Bill Dobbie’s family were from the Campbeltown area, bringing extra conviction to The Machrihanish Distillery’s part to play in regenerating a rural community in Scotland.

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Donald Kelly, Argyll & Bute Councilor states: We are delighted to see what could be the beginning of a renaissance of whiskey distilling in the Campbeltown region.

“With years gone by since we were Scotland’s home of whiskey, seeing the return of a farm-to-bottle distillery that will provide important local employment and a vibrant visitor attraction is something that really excites me and the broader community.”

As well as this new project, R&B’s original commitment of building upon Co-founder and Master Distiller Alasdair Day’s family whiskey history in its original location has also led to the concept of building a micro-grain distillery in Coldstream.

The Coldstream distillery has a working title of ‘The ‘Duke St Distillery, Coldstream’ with the location of where it will be built yet to be confirmed.

The distillery will build on the Day family whiskey recipe book, and the market curiosity around a ‘Scottish Bourbon’, to produce some unique whiskey from different grains.

R&B believe the increasing market uptake of such whiskeys will allow the micro-distillery to grow over time.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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