A pair of north-east brothers have been given permission to transform a disused quarry into a whisky tourist destination.
Formartine area committee approved the project, despite planners recommending it for refusal.
Whisky Hammer, which was established in 2015 by Craig and Daniel Milne, want to turn the former Allathan Quarry, just outside Pitmedden, into its new home.
The business is currently based at Ellon Business Centre, but is looking to build a new, larger base of operations after it grew from two full-time staff in 2018 to five this year.
They want the quarry to become a functional yet contemporary facility that is reflective of the many agricultural buildings in the area.
In addition to serving as a space for storage and distribution of much sought-after nips, the proposals also include a shop, tasting room and more to provide local customers and tourists alike with an all-round whisky experience.
But Aberdeenshire Council’s planners had recommended the application be rejected because they argued the land did not constitute a brownfield site.
They argued that, since the quarry stopped operating the land had naturalised and, due to plant growth, it was now green from one side of the site to the other.
Councillors visited the site before making a decision, and at a special holiday committee held yesterday, unanimously backed the proposals.
Committee chairwoman Isobel Davidson said afterwards: “We felt it was a good tourist facility with great links to the surrounding villages.”
Last night, the Milnes said they were pleased councillors had decided to go against the officers’ recommendation.
Daniel Milne said: “We are happy that councillors made the right decision for a business such as Whisky Hammer and we look forward to establishing our new operating base and contributing to the local community.”
Building works will begin in the coming months and the business will move into the new premises next year.