Caithness spirits company given green light for overhaul of 200-year-old mill

Dunnet Bay Distillers has been given the green light to refurbish the 200-year-old mill and surrounding land at Castletown, near the Caithness company’s headquarters.

The firm, which owns the award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, acquired the historic mill in 2021.

The restoration and fit-out of the refurbished building is likely to cost up to £4 million. Plans include creating a visitor centre and a whisky distillery.

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The “eco-friendly” spirits company was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife team Martin and Claire Murray.

Earlier this year, the firm was granted permission to develop a temporary visitor centre, cafe and shop near the site of the mill.

Claire Murray, co-founder and co-director, said: “We are delighted that we now have planning permission to convert the old mill and thank Highland Council for its decision. We have been working hard with our plans and are looking forward to sharing them in the coming months.

“The warehouse building has already commenced work and we hope to open a temporary cafe and small visitor area soon.”

Andrea Wise, director of Organic Architects, said: "This is a rare opportunity for a thriving local business to regenerate this landmark building which has been unable to find a user for decades.

Artist's impression of the refurbished old mill that will form part of Dunnet Bay Distillers.

“The distillery will be powered by green electricity, making it one of the most sustainable distilleries in the UK industry.”

Earlier this year, the company asked anyone with connections to the old mill to get in touch to tell their personal stories about the building.

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