£5m distillery plan for Barra

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The Isle of Barra looks set to become home to a purpose-built £5 million whisky and gin distillery creating 30 jobs.

Michael Morrison, chief executive of the Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd, has announced ambitious ‘green’ development plans, having started three years ago producing the award-winning Barra Atlantic Gin which has seen its customer base quadruple in a year, he said.

The business plans to create a new brand of Isle of Barra Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

As well as facilities to produce more than 300,000 bottles, it will also house its existing 300-litre gin still, named Ada, and create a bottling plant and bonded warehousing.

The company said it expected to generate whisky sales of nearly £30 million in a decade, with the island having a classic whisky story to tell.

Barra was a former home of Compton MacKenzie, author of the iconic 1947 novel Whisky Galore, which was subsequently made into a classic film in 1949 starring Gordon Jackson, among others.

Mr Morrison explained: ‘For as long as we can remember and certainly since we launched Isle of Barra Distillers, we’ve consistently been asked if we produce whisky because of the name Barra and the instant connection people make with Whisky Galore!’

He said the success of its Barra Atlantic Gin had given the company the confidence and funds to expand.

‘We have amassed a large following across social media, close to 50,000  current followers and growing. We currently distribute to two overseas markets with several more to follow in the coming year,’ he said.

‘All these factors show that we can build a brand from scratch and turn it into a successful operation and that was done at a standing start with very little knowledge.’

Mr Morrison said its single malt would be matured in a mix of casks – a 200-litre  American White Oak Ex-Bourbon, a 250-litre Cabernet Sauvignon Cask and a 250-litre Oloroso Sherry Cask.

The plant would be powered by renewable energy – built with sustainable materials – and with a green travel plan to limit the number of visitors driving to the site.

In addition to the distillery, there will also be a retail shop and café/bar area specialising in local produce from seafood and shellfish to lamb and beef.

There will also be an emphasis on creating a place where families are comfortable and welcome with a small safe area for children to play.

For more information, visit isleofbarradistillers.com/pages/barra-whisky-2