Isle of Barra has its first distillery

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The Isle of Barra now officially has its first distillery.

Last Wednesday, May 8, was the day the Isle of Barra Distillers were granted full approval by HMRC for a distilling licence and bonded warehouse facilities. It marked a huge step forward for everyone involved, especially when the original plan for this milestone was to be near the end of 2020, meaning it was a full 18 months ahead of schedule.

It is also a testament to the hard work and dedication over the two years since the company embarked on this journey.

Michael Morrison, managing director of Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd, said: ‘We hope to have our mini still installed in the coming weeks while our main 300-litre still is being commissioned by Forsyth’s.

‘The arrival of our bottling equipment is imminent, meaning that in the coming weeks we will be in a position to begin test running the first island distilled spirit here on Barra.

‘By mid to late May we will be releasing information on how and when the first batch of our spirit which has been distilled, bottled and labelled here on Barra will be available to purchase.

‘Such an achievement cannot be done alone and we have a lot of people to thank. A special mention goes to the amazing community on the Isle of Barra, the team at Nicolson Accountancy and to Sue especially, everyone at Business Gateway Lynne, Catherine, Marion and everyone who has helped, to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the amazing team at D8 Design in Glasgow, everyone at Benchmark Packaging and to everyone who has supported us along the way.

‘The team and everyone involved has worked so hard for this day to come and we are so grateful.

‘We really can’t express how big this is and how much of an impact it will have not only on the Isle of Barra Distillers but also the Isle of Barra itself. We’re now looking at the next chapter – whisky!’

He added: ‘It is the thought of giving something back to this beautiful island that drives the Isle of Barra Distillers forward. We feel we owe it to the island and to the community – we have the opportunity to do something great and that is exactly what we’re going to do.’