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Plans announced for second distillery in Benbecula

A bird's eye view of the distillery proposed in Gramsdale, Benbecula. submitted
A bird's eye view of the distillery proposed in Gramsdale, Benbecula. submitted

Plans have been revealed for a second whisky distillery on the island of Benbecula.

Less than two weeks after North Uist Distillery announced its move to historic Nunton Steadings, Uist Distilling Company is this week lodging plans for a £6.5m distillery less than five miles away in Gramsdale.

The distillery is to produce single malt whisky, rum and gin, ‘with a Hebridean flavour’ and includes a visitor centre with catering specialising in local produce.

The Uist Distilling Company is owned by South Uist businessman Angus A Macmillan and his son Angus E Macmillan, and is registered at Bornish House in South Uist.

The company was formed last December, and is hoping to start production in early 2022.

The plans for the distillery complex includ low carbon technologies in the design, build and distillation process.

The building design will incorporate large glazed areas, showcasing the copper whisky stills and a visitor centre with stunning views of the neighbouring islands.

Mr Macmillan senior is the chairman and chief executive of the company and says the distillery and visitor centre will bring 25 secure, high-quality jobs to the island, along with around 60-70 indirect jobs for suppliers, farmers, crofters transport and other local and national businesses.

He said: “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area.

“We want to produce whisky, rum and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail, while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.

“I want to build strong relationships with other island distilleries so that we support the economic prospects of Scotland and our wider international industry.”

A visualisation of the new distillery proposed for Gramsdale, Benbecula.

Mr MacMillan junior is operations director of the Uist Distilling.

He said: “Having a low carbon footprint is key to The Uist Distilling Company’s plans.

“We are working with industry experts to design a spirit production process which is powered by renewable energy sources, this will lower the carbon output of the distillery and ensure we are at the forefront of the whisky industry’s move away from the use of fossil fuels.”

Community engagement drop-in sessions are planned in the coming weeks, where islanders will have the opportunity to see the plans in more detail and ask questions about the project.

HIE area manager for the Outer Hebrides Rachel Mackenzie, said: “These innovative plans will bring much-needed high-quality and secure jobs, as well as providing a visitor attraction that will be a significant boost to the Outer Hebrides tourism experience.”

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