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Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky purchases Huntly cafe for six-figure sum in move to opening eatery

Ian Logan, senior manager of whisky and hospitality at Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky.
Ian Logan, senior manager of whisky and hospitality at Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky.

Independent north-east whisky merchants Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has acquired a second premises in Huntly, just months after the sale of The Castle Hotel was announced.

The whisky firm has purchased The Bank, a cafe and restaurant based in the heart of the town for a six-figure sum.

This sum includes the purchase of the building and the refurbishment of the venue, too.

Located on the corner position at the junction of The Square and Gordon Street, the two-storey grade B listed traditional granite building will be transformed and reopened as a new eatery.

Set to open its doors next month in September, The Castle Hotel will follow a few months later, opening in early 2022.

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky owners Euan and Moji Shand.

Euan Shand, chairman of Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, grew up in the area and is delighted to be investing in Huntly where the whisky merchant firm is headquartered.

He said: “I was born and brought up in Huntly. My father, Albert Shand, was the manager at Glendronach Distillery and I grew up in a house in the distillery grounds, so my love of Huntly and the people is deep rooted.

“We have already invested heavily in the area as we have our headquarters for the business on King Street. Our Whiskies of Scotland shop and online retailer The Spirits Embassy are both on Gordon Street.

“We have a property in the area and are in the process of building a new warehouse, too. Investing further in Huntly is something we have always wanted to do when the time was right.”

Building a team

Employing around 10 staff to work at the venue when it opens, Euan and the team have taken inspiration from their travels regarding the refurbishment.

The firm has remained tight-lipped on what customers can expect at the venue when it reopens, however, it is said it will complement the other areas of the business.

The exterior of The Bank in Huntly.

He added: “We are working on refurbishing it at the moment and once that is completed we intend to open as soon as we can.

“We are putting our own spin on it with some exciting plans in place, however, we have to wait for some licences to be in place first.

“The Bank will be a separate entity but working closely within the Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky portfolio.”

The Castle Hotel

The whisky firm purchased The Castle Hotel on May 31 and it is believed to have changed hands for around £1.25 million.

Prior to the takeover the hotel has been owned and operated for more than 21 years by Andrew and Linda Meiklejohn.

Euan is looking forward to bringing another Huntly institution to the forefront and will employ around 20 to 25 staff to bring his vision for the hotel to life.

Ian Logan, senior manager of Whisky and Hospitality at Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky in The Bank.

He added: “We’ve already started extensive work to the building and grounds. Our plan is to run it as a hotel with a bar and restaurant.

“We are working on bringing The Castle Hotel building back to what it was in the mid-1800s with a sympathetic modern refurbishment to meet the discerning local and international standards of quality and service.

“I’ve travelled the world and stayed in lots of hotels, so I want to bring the very best of what I’ve experienced to it. We are also looking at the carbon footprint for the hotel, making it as environmentally friendly as we can, putting efficient new systems in place.

“We have taken on the original staff who wanted to stay and work with us and will be recruiting some additional experienced staff to bolster the excellent team we already have. We will be operating the hotel with 20-25 staff.”

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