Cash brings Harris distillery closer

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Whisky distilling on the Hebridean island of Harris is now a step closer, thanks to a Scottish Government grant.

The Isle of Harris Distillery which is to be built at Tarbert was today awarded £1.9 million from the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant scheme – one of five businesses to share £2.391 million in this round.

A further three firms received £241,000 through the Marketing Development grant scheme.  Work is due to begin on the distillery, which is expected to create around 20 jobs, in late 2013.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead today visited the site of the proposed distillery and met some of those behind the project which aims to provide a boost for the local economy.

He said:

“Whisky is an iconic Scottish product which is loved around the world and has growing international sales. Already many rural and island communities around Scotland have reaped the economic benefits that a distillery can bring.

“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to offer funding, amounting to over a third of the total costs of building the Isle of Harris Distillery, and it’s great to be here today to learn more about this exciting project.

“I am sure that, in time, Harris whisky will develop a worldwide reputation for quality in the same way as Harris Tweed has done. I look forward to enjoying a Harris dram in a few years time.”

Chairman and Founder Anderson Bakewell said:

“We are absolutely delighted by this recognition from the Scottish Government of the long-term benefits the distillery would bring to the people of Harris.

“The award adds to the momentum which this project has generated and increases significantly the likelihood that this once-in-a-generation opportunity will not be squandered.

“Everyone in the islands can look forward with real excitement to the prospect of an initiative which promotes the assets of the islands throughout the world and serves as a catalyst for economic development locally.”

The full list of companies which were successful in the latest round were:

  • Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd – £1,923,000 for construction of new malt whisky distillery
  • TM Fresh Direct, Carfin – £107,816 for a new processing factory
  • Sandyford Abattoir, Paisley – £27,187 to upgrade the abattoir and install new refrigeration units
  • Struan Apiaries, Conon Bridge – £63,698 to upgrade the existing facilities
  • Findlater’s Fine Foods, Linlithgow – £156,238 to upgrade the building and install new refrigeration, freezing and processing equipment.

Under the Marketing Development Scheme, Charcuterie Continental from Twechar received £148,280 and Peter Equi of Hamilton received £94,600.

All grant awards are subject to confirmation of eligible expenditure.