From the archive: It’s whisky galore as spirits flow, 3 September, 2008

AS its name suggests, the Red River has a bloody past. But in future it will help whisky flow from a remote part of Scotland.

Production has started at a distillery near Uig on the Atlantic coast of Lewis, 164 years since the last legal distillery in the Western Isles closed.

Island businessman Mark Tayburn has set up Abhainn Dearg distillery (Red River in Gaelic) on the site of a former salmon hatchery. Casking has begun and the first bottles of single malt will be ready by 2011.

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The business is run on environmentally friendly lines, with a small hydro-electric scheme planned.

Mr Tayburn said 10,000 litres would be produced this year and up to 25,000 litres by 2009-10.

He has based his distillery on an illicit still still working on the islands until the 1950s, using copper stills and American oak bourbon barrels.