A job boost and economic boom are expected to be delivered to Speyside after planners gave the go-ahead to a new distillery yesterday.
The new distillery, visitor centre and warehouse, to be situated on the outskirts of the Strathspey town between Craggan Outdoors and Gaich Farm, will now be developed by Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd – better known as Gordon and MacPhail.
The firm purchased Benromach Distillery in Forres in 1993, which now attracts over 13,000 visitors per annum and has recently expanded to include a gin distillery.
Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd, expressed his delight last night adding that they “hope to get started very quickly, potentially this year”.
He said: “We’re looking forward to becoming part of the local community here.
“As a family-owned business located in the north of Scotland we are very much rooted in our communities and we are keen to develop strong relationships in Grantown-on-Spey and the surrounding area.”
The new facility, in the area which resonates with whisky lovers across the globe, will have the capacity to produce 100,000 cases of whisky each year – approximately two million litres – with 50,000 anticipated to visit each year.
Local councillor Bill Lobban said: “I think this is a fantastic thing for the whole area and not just Grantown-on-Spey.
“I think this is exactly the right kind of development and over the years it will provide a great economic boost and some local jobs, so overall it is to be welcomed.”
The distillery will include a “living roof” planted with the plant sedum, intended to minimise the visual impact on nearby homes and will be situated right at the entrance to the Speyside Whisky Trail.
Eleanor Mackintosh, Cairngorm National Park Association (CNPA) planning committee convener described the proposal as a “major development for the area”, congratulating the “thorough and well-presented application”.
She added: “The food and drink sector and the tourism industry are both extremely important to the National Park economy – often going hand in hand as is the case here.
“It is an innovative building to house a business that will provide long term economic benefits.”
The development is the first malt whisky distillery to be approved by the CNPA since it was established in 2003.
The Scottish whisky sector generated £5.5 billion in gross value to the UK economy in 2018, with the industry recognised as the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland with over two million visits to distilleries each year.
The industry also supports approximately 7,000 jobs across the Highlands and Islands.