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Uist Distilling Co gains £2m for low-carbon distillery

A proposed £12.5 million (US$17.3m) distillery and visitor centre in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides has received a funding boost from the government.

Uist Distilling Company
Uist Distilling Company will produce single malt whisky, rum and gin

In 2020, The Uist Distilling Company submitted plans to build a distillery on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.

The project has secured £1.99m (US$2.8m) from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Scottish government’s economic and community development agency.

The new distillery will pioneer innovative low-carbon technology across its design, build and distillation process. The company has invested £1.25m (US$1.7m) in building a green energy centre including a high temperature heat pump system, which will provide hot water to the distillation process.

The site is the brainchild of South Uist businessman Angus A Macmillan and his son, Angus E Macmillan.

The distillery plans to produce spirits with a ‘Hebridean flavour’ including single malt whisky, rum and gin. Production is expected to start in early 2022.

Angus A Macmillan said: “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area.

“We want to produce whisky, rum and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail, while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.

“We are delighted with the support we have had from HIE. Having a low-carbon footprint is key to our plans and we are working with industry experts to design a spirit production process, which is powered by renewable energy sources.

“This will lower the carbon output of the distillery and ensure we are at the forefront of the whisky industry’s move away from the use of fossil fuels.”

The distillery will focus on sustainable organic production, using local ingredients such as peat, heather, seaweed and barley.

The project is expected to create 22 jobs over the next three years.

Joanna Peteranna, head of enterprise support at HIE’s Outer Hebrides team, added: “This innovative project will bring much-needed high quality and secure jobs to Benbecula. The plans include green energy technology, which should future proof the business in terms of Scotland’s net zero targets.

“It will also add to the other distillery developments in the Outer Hebrides and will help establish a whisky trail through the islands, which would be attractive for visitors.”

Uist Distilling Company also secured more than £80,000 (US$110,000) in funding from the UK government’s Green Distilleries scheme.

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