The parent company of whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail has announced plans for a new multi-million-pound distillery near Grantown which it expects to become a “significant local employer” and tourist attraction.
Elgin-based Speymalt Whisky Distributors, which also owns and operates Benromach distillery in Forres, described the site it has chosen at Craggan as perfect for the development.
It intends to submit a planning application in coming months, with the aim of starting the 12-month construction project next year.
Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of family-owned Speymalt, said: “Building a second distillery is an important part of our business plan and we have spent some time researching a suitable site.
“We believe we have found the perfect place for our new distillery at Craggan. It’s a stunning location with strong transport links and can accommodate the distillery, warehousing and a visitor experience.
The development would be the first new malt whisky distillery to be built in the Cairngorm National Park area since its creation in 2003.
“The Cairngorms are a beautiful part of the world and we aim to design a distillery which will be in keeping with this wonderful landscape,” Mr Mackintosh added.
“The purchase of Benromach distillery and the growth of this brand internationally over the past 20 years has proved to be a huge success.
“Constructing a second distillery will enable us to continue creating a sustainable long-term legacy for future generations.”
Speymalt will undertake a consultation process with the community and stage a public exhibition of its plans over the summer.
The company has not decided on a name for the planned new distillery.
The firm, owned by the Urquhart family, acquired Benromach in 1993 and, after extensive refurbishment, reopened it five years later. Work has recently started on adding a gin distillery and visitor experience at the site.
Benromach attracts more than 13,000 visitors annually.