'Whisky Galore' in the Hebrides as £6.5m distillery plan revealed

Whisky will be soon be flowing on one island in the Outer Hebrides with plans to build a £6.5m distillery.

An artist's impression of the new distillery planned for Gramsdale on Benbecula. PIC: Contributed.

The Uist Distilling Company is to create a £6.5 million distillery at Gramsdale on Benbecula where single malt, rum and gin will be made.

A visitor centre, where fresh local food will be served, is also part of the plan with hopes the distillery will help boost tourism and strengthen the whisky trail in the Hebrides.

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The distillery, which will take in views across the beaches of North Uist and the Monach Isles, the hills of Harris and the Isle of Skye, is being created by Angus A MacMillan and his son, also Angus.

The new distillery, which will harness low-carbon technologies, aims to boost tourism in the islands and strengthen the whisky trail in the Hebrides. PIC: Contributed.

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They said they wanted to create spirits with a “Hebridean Twist” and take them to Scotland and the world.

Mr MacMillan Snr, chairman and chief executive, said the venture will bring 25 secure, high-quality jobs to the island, along with around 60-70 indirect jobs for suppliers, farmers, crofters and those involved in the transportation of their products.

He said: “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area.

"We want to produce whisky, rum and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail, while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.”

He added: “I want to build strong relationships with other island distilleries so that we support the economic prospects of Scotland and our wider international industry.”

A planning application will be submitted this week to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with hopes to start production in early 2022.

The distillery complex is due to harness low-carbon technologies in the design, build and distillation process.

Angus E MacMillan, operations manager at The Uist Distilling Company, said: “Having a low carbon footprint is key to The Uist Distilling Company’s plans. We are working with industry experts to design a spirit production process which is powered by renewable energy sources, this will lower the carbon output of the distillery and ensure we are at the forefront of the whisky industry’s move away from the use of fossil fuels.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has part-funded a feasibility study for the distillery with the local authority also supportive of the project, he added.

Islanders will get their say on the proposals at a number of community engagement events which are planned over the coming weeks.

Rachel Mackenzie, area manager for the Outer Hebrides at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “These innovative plans will bring much-needed high-quality and secure jobs, as well as providing a visitor attraction that will be a significant boost to the Outer Hebrides tourism experience.”

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