Distillery founder hands over reins to manager

Duncan Tait and John Mckenzie
Duncan Tait and John Mckenzie

The founder of the world’s first 100% community-owned, fully sustainable distillery is toasting a major milestone in its development after handing over the running of the business to its manager.

Having overseen two crowdfunding drives that attracted almost 4,000 investors and raised more that £3.6 million to launch GlenWyvis, near Dingwall, John McKenzie said the time was now right for Duncan Tait to take on its day-to-day management.

Yesterday’s handover came three years to the day after the launch of the first share offer by helicopter pilot and farmer Mr McKenzie, who has run the company as managing director in a voluntary capacity since 2017.

Construction at the site, to the north of the Ross-shire town, started in 2016 and GlenWyvis is now a fully-operational distillery, producing single malt whisky and craft gin.

Mr McKenzie will continue to serve on the distillery’s finance team and the board of GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society, which oversees the strategy and compliance for the business.

Mr Tait started his career in the whisky industry at Teaninich Distillery, in Alness, and joined GlenWyvis as master distiller from Diageo’s Mortlach, in Dufftown, where he was the manager.

Mr McKenzie said: “The business continues to go from strength to strength and I’d like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to my patient wife, my family and friends, the GlenWyvis board and all our members and followers without whom my idea would not have risen out of the ground.

“This is a great legacy and success story for Dingwall and, arguably, the most important day to date was when Duncan came to GlenWyvis as the master distiller.

“To get someone with his experience, knowledge and skills was a genuine coup for us – and set the project on course for the next 10 years.

“That’s why, with the distillery now fully operational, I’m delighted to be able to hand over the management to Duncan in full confidence that we have created something that he can take forward successfully,” he added.