Micro Distillery Founders Derek & Kerry Campbell

Derek and Kerry Campbell

A new micro Scotch whisky distillery, visitor centre and bonded warehouse is set to open in John O’Groats in 2021.

The micro distillery will become Scotland’s most northerly mainland whisky distillery, thanks to its location near to the coastline of John O’Groats. The ‘end of the line’ distillery will have the capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of whisky each year and will be the first Scotch whisky distillery in John O’Groats since 1837.

The distillery is the brainchild of local husband and wife team Derek and Kerry Campbell with the help of £198,000 in funding from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Around six new jobs will be created during the first year, including a Master Whisky Maker and Visitor Centre Manager.

The new distillery and visitor centre will showcase the two copper stills and traditional whisky making process, while making the most of the views across the Pentland Firth.

Kerry said: “We believe that the whisky we will produce will be unlike that from any other distillery, due to our coastal location in John O’Groats and the impact the local climate will have on our spirit as it matures.

“With traditional methods at the heart of our plans and an ambition to showcase whisky distilling in John O’Groats to the world, we are looking forward to opening the doors to our micro-distillery in due course.”

Keith Muir, HIE’s head of business growth for Caithness and Sutherland, said: “Tourism and food and drink are two key industries in Caithness, and this project features both. As well as producing a brand new whisky, it will enhance the area’s wider visitor offering, notably around the North Coast 500.

“We particularly welcome the improvement it will make to the look and feel of the John O’Groats end of the road attraction, in bringing a long disused site back into productive use.”

Work on the distillery is due to begin in summer 2020, with the aim of opening the visitor centre to the public in summer 2021.

Susie Haywood
Article by Susie Haywood
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