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Scotland’s first ‘community distillery’ to open

The Highland town of Dingwall could become the location of Scotland’s first “community-owned craft whisky distillery” following the launch of a £1.5 million share offer.

GlenWyvis is set to become Scotland’s first community-owned Scotch whisky distillery

The GlenWyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society has partnered with Community Shares Scotland (CSS) to offer investment opportunities ranging from £250 to £100,000.

The offer has been designed to “ensure a high level of local ownership” in the distillery but is also open to international investors. Lower rate investment opportunities (as low as £250) are open to local investors who live in all IV postcode areas.

If successful in raising funds, the distillery will mark the return of Scotch whisky distilling to Dingwall some 90 years after the last of the town’s original distilleries – Ferintosh and Glenskiach – closed.

The brainchild of farmer and helicopter pilot John McKenzie, GlenWyvis Distillery will be based on a farm outside of Dingwall and will be “100% community-owned” and “100% powered by green energy”.

“We have a truly winning combination here of a stunning Scottish Highland location, immense historical appeal linking back to Culloden, Burns and Ferintosh and readily available hydro, solar and wind energy to bring this innovative whisky project to fruition,” said McKenzie, who is supported by a board of directors and community representatives in developing the project.

“From the outset we have envisaged the project as more than a distillery. It is an opportunity for all social investors to help reinvigorate the historic town of Dingwall. GlenWyvis will be built on its whisky heritage, its community-ownership and its environmental credentials.

“We have amazing local resources and will be using only local barley from a farmers’ cooperative – hence our strapline ‘built on history – powered by nature’.”

Construction of the distillery is due to commence in June 2016 with the first run of whisky planned for Burns Night on 25 January 2017. Plans are also in place to build an associated visitors’ centre at the distillery.

“This is one of the biggest community projects we have been involved in and we hope it will make a seismic impact in the kind of projects that we will see coming forward to work with Community Shares Scotland in the future,” said Kelly McIntyre, programme manager at CSS.

“GlenWyvis has a truly international appeal with an amazing whisky heritage story which will strike a chord with expat Scots and the Scottish Diaspora worldwide and has the added impact of sitting nicely along the North Coast 500 route.”

The GlenWyvis Community Share Offer opens on 16 April 2016 and closes on 24 June 2016.

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