Close Menu

First distillery for 40 years to open in Inverness 

A £6 million (US$7.3m) whisky distillery and brewery is to be opened in Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands, for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Uilebheist distillery
Erasmus outside the Uilebheist low-carbon distillery, due to open in November 2022

The Uilebheist distillery will be sustainably powered by a local water source, the River Ness, and will create 40 jobs.

Uilebheist owner Jon Erasmus said: “The very foundations of this project were born from Scottish myth and legend. We wanted to create something unique to the area, with the distillery, and brewery both powered by the famous River Ness.”

All water used in the distillery processes will be sourced from the river, “meaning that when you drink Uilebheist’s liquid, you really are tasting the Highlands,” added Erasmus.

The low-carbon distillery, which is due to open in November this year, is named after the Scottish Gaelic word for ‘monster’, as the project is inspired by Scottish folklore.

Beer and whisky production will begin at the site later this year, with the brewery’s five core beers available to buy in late November 2022.

Erasmus said: “Creating both beer and whisky simultaneously will allow us to offer an immediate product, and whilst we wait for the whisky to reach maturity, there will be an opportunity to own one of a limited number of casks of the Uilebheist Single Malt Whisky distilled in the first year of production, through our cask programme.”

The Uilbeheist cask programme offers consumers the chance to own a cask of the distillery’s flagship whisky, and only 100 casks will be made available this year. They will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Erasmus also commented that the space will “aim to raise the bar” with visitor experiences, and lead the way for Scotland’s hospitality sector. The centre is going to offer a range of experiences ranging from site tours and sampling of core products to masterclasses.

Uilbeheist is said to be on track to become one of the lowest carbon distilleries in the country.

Heating and hot water will be sourced from onsite pumps within the adjoined sustainability centre, powered by the River Ness.

This will also be distributed throughout the nearby Glen Mhor Hotel complex. The process will be the ‘first of its kind in Scotland’.

Bruce Smith, who has a Masters degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University, will head the distillery and brewery. Smith has spent the last decade working in the craft beer industry and ageing beer in ex-whisky barrels.

He said: “Whisky production will commence later this year, due to our small scale we will only produce around 200 casks annually, making Uilebheist one of the rarest whiskies in Scotland.

“The whisky will be matured in ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks, but the whisky will let us know when it’s ready and we have no intention to rush it. Quality is our number one focus.”

Irish Distillers recently invested €50 million (US$52.2m) to make Midleton Ireland’s first and largest carbon-neutral distillery by 2026.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No