Plans for a new craft whisky distillery on a west Highland estate are “well advanced” and about to take another leap forward after a £500,000-plus grant from the Scottish Government.
The cash is part of a £10million funding package over three years to help food and drink companies upgrade their facilities.
Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead said the total payout in the latest round of Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) Grant Scheme awards was likely to generate additional investment of up to £52 million.
The £513,322 for a new whisky distillery is for the 7,000-acre Drimnin Estate on the Morvern peninsula, overlooking the Sound of Mull.
Drimnin Estate would not comment on its plans yesterday but its website says the distillery will occupy historic farm buildings next to Drimnin House, producing a premium single malt using renewable-energy from wood-chip harvested in its forests and creating employment for local residents.
It adds: “Visitors will be welcomed from Morvern and by boat from Mull and passing yachts, with a tour that will include a tasting and lunch in a conversion of the old greenhouse. The distillery is being developed by an associated company, Drimnin Distillery.”
Plans were submitted to the local authority by Organic Distilleries, part of Helensburgh-based Organic Architects, which also designed Ardnamurchan Distillery at Glenbeg.
The latest FPMC grants were announced during a visit by Mr Lochhead to haggis-maker Macsween of Edinburgh, which is getting up to £114,534 for new equipment to expand production.
Mr Lochhead said: “Scots and many others with a connection to Scotland will be celebrating Burns Night with traditional haggis and a dram – making this the ideal time to announce these first awards under our new food grants scheme.
“Scotland’s iconic food and drink sector is already the toast of the Scottish economy, with phenomenal growth and turnover now exceeding £14billion.
“This huge success has been fuelled by the global appetite for our iconic products, such as haggis and whisky, and the unwavering support of the Scottish Government and all our agencies.”