Work is under way on two new multi-million pound distilleries in Lochaber and Skye that will create around 20 much-needed new jobs.
The projects at Drimnin Distillery on the Morvern Peninsula and Torabhaig Distillery in the south of Skye are also expected to provide a further boost to the local economy by attracting more visitors to these areas.
The conversion of an old farm steading on Drimnin Estate into a distillery received £168,709 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and up to £431,291 through the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant scheme.
It will produce a single malt whisky using a blend of traditional and modern techniques, with production due to start early in 2017.
Up to eight new jobs are expected to be created, with further employment indirectly through its construction, future supply chain and tourism.
Its chief executive Annabel Thomas said: “After several years in the planning, it is hugely exciting to see the new distillery starting to take shape.
“Interest in small, quality spirit producers and single malt whisky continues to grow and we are looking forward to offering something a little bit different to consumers around the world.”
Meanwhile, HIE approved £712,615 towards the Torabhaig Distillery development on Skye.
This project will create 12 new jobs when it opens later this year, as well as indirect posts and further employment during the construction phase.
It will produce around 1.5million bottles of malt whisky per annum and is set to attract up to 50,000 visitors a year to its visitor and interpretation centre.
Mossburn Distillers project director Finlay Calder said: “We are delighted with progress at Torabhaig Distillery and look forward to the first spirit being distilled soon.
“Restoration work on the 19th century steading buildings that house the distillery and visitor centre has been carried out, creating a modern and functional facility fit for the 21st century.”
Helen Cameron, of HIE’s business growth team, said both distilleries would generate significant international sales and add further diversity to the Scottish malt whisky sector’s impressive reputation.
She said: “The distilleries will also enhance the appeal of the Highlands and islands as a place to live and work, which helps strengthen community resilience.”