We thought a history lesson was the order of the day, so we begin with some background info on three Inverness distilleries you may not know about. We also have news about a new limited edition celebratory gin, and finally, we share the plans for our new GlenWyvis Centre in Dingwall.
As you'll know, local history plays a significant role in the development of our distillery, and we've covered the distilleries located in and around Dingwall but just across the Firth, Inverness had it's own distilling legacy which now has been sadly lost. There were originally three distilleries in the town of Inverness and the oldest of these was the Millburn Distillery, originally established in 1807. It was founded under the name Inverness Distillery by a Mr. Welsh (some 16 years before whisky distillation was legalised!).
The Inverness Distillery changed hands several times throughout the nineteenth century until 1904 when its name was officially changed to Millburn. A combination of the price of whisky crashing in the 1980s and the genarally poor location of the distillery (situated between a stream and the edge of the town) expansion opportunities were limited, which resulted in its closure in 1985. The buildings were redeveloped and are now a Premier Inn.
Bottles of Millburn can still be found although they come with a premium price tag. We will have more information on the other two Inverness distilleries in the coming days. Just like the auction mart serves both Inverness and Dingwall, we aim to be both Dingwall's and Inverness's Distillery. GlenWyvis...built on history.
The second distillery to be built in the Highland capital was Glen Albyn. Founded in 1844 by a Mr Sutherland who was the Provost of Inverness at the time, production started in 1846 and the new distillery looked like it held great promise due to its location on the Caledonian Canal; allowing it good access for the shipping in of raw materials (especially the local barley which was renowned for it's quality) and malt whisky out. However it soon ran into financial difficulties a decade later and was turned into a flour mill.
During the whisky boom of the late nineteenth century the distillery went back to it's original purpose of producing whisky. Whisky production was interrupted by the first world war when Glen Albyn was used as a US navy base and produced anti-submarine netting! After the war Glen Albyn continued whisky production up until the whisky crash of the 1980s, sadly this resulting it its closure in 1983. Like Millburn, Glen Albyn is now a highly sought after bottle for collectors.
GlenWyvis plan to reignite the distilling passion that was created by some of these Highland entrepreneurs in the 19th Century. Our high quality local Barley will be malted in Inverness creating further links between ourselves and the Highland Capital.
With so much whisky & history in Inverness maybe a few sightings of Nessie have come about following a dram or twae. We hope Tourists will soon be drinking GlenWyvis on the banks of loch ness when trying to catch a glimpse of the monster.
The third and final distillery to be built in the Highland capital was Glen Mhor. Constructed in 1892 by John Birnie (previously the manager at Glen Albyn) it had close ties with Glen Albyn due to its proximity (just across the road). The first run of spirit was in 1894 and worked closely with its neighbor for many years until Glen Mhor bought over Glen Albyn in 1920. It was the first distillery in Scotland to use the saladin box malting process in 1954. The distillery was sold by Birnie's son along with Glen Albyn to DCL (Diageo's predecessor) in 1972.
Glen Mhor had very high operating costs and with the huge crash in the whisky market in the 1980s the decision was made to close the distillery in 1983. Inverness had almost two centuries of distilling history and tradition which was sadly lost over a very short period of time. With the arrival of GlenWyvis in 2016 we hope to reignite traditional local distilling in the area and reclaim what was lost in Dingwall and Inverness. GlenWyvis, the very Scottish Scotch malt whisky.
GlenWyvis is a unique project being run as a community share offer - a real first for Scotland and great for Dingwall. For more information on community shares and how they work for the benfit of everyone please watch the video below. GlenWyvis...built on history, powered by nature.
If you remember the article in the Ross-shire Journal late last year where we announced plans to build a distillery visitor centre in Dingwall, well, we've had plans drawn up and here they are: the GlenWyvis Centre.
The GlenWyvis Centre will be owned and operated by the community for the benefit of all and be directly linked to the GlenWyvis Distillery located on the edge of Dingwall. A final site is still to be agreed but we're considering various options.
A full business plan has been completed and forms part of the viability of this exciting local project. The business plan and all aspects of the project will be released on schedule on the 16th of April 2016. As a community share offer everyone will have the opportunity to invest, and receive various benefits in the early years. Business shareholders will have one vote regardless of amount invested. Please take a look at the plans and let us know what you think! Yes there is a cinema as promised, just like there used to be in Dingwall!
It was an exceptionally busy March for everyone at GlenWyvis, with one particular board meeting proving to be very productive: the reality of Scotland's first community owned distillery is very close! We (Ross County FC) were also very lucky to get our hands on the Scottish League Cup which helped spur us all on!
We are very grateful for the fantastic article about our proposed visitor centre that the Ross-shire Journal published in their Friday paper and we would encourage everyone to read it if they can. We managed to get one of our bottles all the way to Indonesia to our good friend Judi. We ran an international competition to decide on the design of our labeling for our gin and Judi easily beat the rest! He is currently working on the design of our whisky bottle in time for the 16th of April and we would like to thank him for all his hard work.
Coul House Hotel, Contin