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Dunnet Bay whisky distillery gets green light

The UK’s most northerly mainland distillery, Dunnet Bay Distillers, has received planning approval for its multi-million-pound expansion.

Dunnet Bay expansion
The mill’s restoration could cost up to £4m

Approved by Highland Council, the application requested permission to refurbish a 200-year-old mill and surrounding land at Castletown in Scotland, near the distillery’s headquarters.

The development, which could cost up to £4 million (US$5.4m), would allow the producer to expand the business to include a visitor centre and whisky distillery.

Husband-and-wife team Claire and Martin Murray founded Dunnet Bay Distillers in 2014. The company, which produces Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka, bought the mill in 2021.

Earlier this year, the distiller was granted permission to develop a temporary visitor centre, café, and shop near the site of the Old Mill.

Claire Murray said: “We are delighted that we now have planning permission to convert the old Mill, and thank Highland Council for its decision. We have been working hard with our plans and are looking forward to sharing them in the coming months.

“The warehouse building has already commenced work and we hope to open a temporary café and small visitor area soon.”

The distillery will be powered by green electricity and feature a ‘contemporary’ design while maintaining the style of the historic building.

Martin Murray added: “We’re excited at the prospect of regenerating this fine old building which has lain empty for many years. The mill will become a Caithness landmark once again and its development will transform our already successful business.”

“The company earlier this year asked anyone with connections to the mill to get in touch to tell their personal stories about the building. The company intends to embed the story of its history into the fabric of the building as they create a new destination on the north coast of Scotland.

“We aim to make it into a local destination distillery and so the history is something we wish to remember.”

The company has not yet announced when work on the expansion will begin.

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