The history of illicit distilling in the Highlands is to be told in a planned new visitor centre on the shores of Loch Ness.
The new “Whisky Experience” project is being proposed in a joint initiative by GlenWyvis Distillery and catering business Cobbs.
Bosses at the distillery and Cobbs, a Highland company that operates cafés, hotels and a bakery, have met to discuss the creation of the initiative alongside the Cobbs-owned Loch Ness Lodge and Loch Ness Clansman Hotel.
Hosted by GlenWyvis, the Loch Ness Whisky Experience will combine both interactive and interpretative displays.
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It will focus on telling the story of illicit distilling in the Highlands.
The new attraction will be housed in a converted Highland cottage overlooking Loch Ness that sits below the site of one of the area’s many former illicit stills.
The adjacent Loch Ness Clansman Hotel had a footfall of over 250,000 tourists for the 2017 season with more expected in 2019.
Cobbs managing director Fraser Campbell said: We are delighted to be working with the GlenWyvis team to bring the idea to fruition.
“It will be something exciting and new for our visitors – and will provide a fascinating insight into the old Highland traditions around distilling and whisky – but in a very modern way. We’re really looking forward to getting this off the ground now.”
GlenWyvis founder and managing director, John Mckenzie, added: “This opportunity has come at the perfect time for GlenWyvis.
“It will give us access to a global audience and it will provide a great forum to engage with visitors who are interested in the story of whisky from a Highland community perspective.
“This is about the story of grass-roots distilling, distilling for the people, and, of course, that is what underpins the community ethos of GlenWyvis.”
Planning permission for the development has now been lodged.
The aim is to have the new visitor attraction up and running for summer 2019 – with additional development to the exhibition and the facilities to follow.
GlenWyvis Distillery opened in late 2017 to bring distilling back to the Highland town of Dingwall for the first time in over 90 years.
To date, more than 3,700 people from some 36 countries have invested over £3.5 million to be part of the GlenWyvis community journey.