Charity to build £3.5m whisky distillery to regenerate historic area of Scotland

A charity has announced it has raised £3.5m needed to build a whisky distillery and heritage centre to revive a remote community in Scotland.

The distillery is being built by the Cabrach Trust in Cabrach, a remote area of North East Scotland that “was a once a thriving community of over 1,000 residents”, said the charity.

However, it is now home to fewer than 100 people following a marked decline in the area in the 20th century, it added.

It is also an area with a history of Jacobite rebellion as well as of illicit whisky distilling and smugglers, according to the charity.

In addition, it is thought to be the area where whisky was first distilled.

The distillery aims to help develop the area “as a sustainable community”, said Trust founder Grant Gordon.

“Having secured funding for this project represents a critical milestone for the Trust and we look forward to embarking on this exciting next chapter in the Cabrach’s story,” he added.

Funding has come from the Ethos Foundation, alongside capital grants from the William Grant Foundation, Bentley Foundation and the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund.

Trust chief executive Jonathan Christie added: “With the build commencing early in the New Year, we look forward to sharing progress as our one-of-a-kind social enterprise unfolds.”

Among those to back the project is the planned distillery's local MP Douglas Ross, who represents Moray. He said: “The Cabrach is a unique community with an incredibly rich heritage.

“The Trust’s ambitious regeneration plans promise to open a new chapter in its story. It is widely believed that the Cabrach is the birthplace of Scotch whisky and plans for a new distillery and heritage centre are not only fitting but also hugely exciting.

“This project will undoubtedly put the Cabrach on the map and I’m delighted this funding has been secured.”

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