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Scotland’s most northerly whisky distillery gains planning approval

A couple can now begin building what is thought to be Scotland’s most northerly mainland whisky distillery after planning permission was approved.

Work on the new microdistillery is expected to begin in summer 2020

Plans for the new microdistillery, which will be built near the coastline in the Scottish village of John O’Groats, were approved yesterday (2 March). The 32,670-square-foot facility will house a distillery, visitor centre and bonded warehouse.

The site will have the capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of whisky annually and is thought to be the first whisky distillery in John O’Groats since 1937.

The brainchild of local husband-and-wife team Derek and Kerry Campbell, the distillery received an investment of £198,000 (US$253,000) from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

“With a longstanding interest in the whisky industry, I began to truly appreciate quality Scotch whisky around 12 years ago and since then have developed a growing passion for Scotland’s national drink,” said Kerry Campbell.

“After many conversations with my husband around the idea of building our own distillery and creating our own whisky, I’m delighted that we are now one step closer to making these plans a reality having secured planning permission on our dream site at John O’Groats.”

The new site will encompass one large building, which features large glass windows that showcase the two copper stills, traditional whisky-making process and views across the Pentland Firth. A 1,500-square-foot dunnage warehouse will also be built onsite to mature and store the Highland spirit.

Kerry Campbell added: “We believe the whisky we will produce will be unlike that from any other distillery, due to our coastal location in John O’Groats and the impact the local climate will have on our spirit as it matures.

“With traditional methods at the heart of our plans and an ambition to showcase whisky distilling in John O’Groats to the world, we are looking forward to opening the doors to our microdistillery in due course.

“The support we have received from the local community and business owners to date has been fantastic and we can’t wait to welcome them to our distillery in 2021.”

The project will also feature a visitor attraction to entice tourists travelling from Land’s End in western Cornwall to John O’Groats.

The venture is expected to create six new jobs during the first year including a master whisky maker and a visitor centre manager.

Construction work on the distillery is planned to commence this summer, with the aim of opening the visitor centre to the public in summer 2021.

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