The founder of the world’s first 100% community-owned distillery, John F Mckenzie, has handed over full management to Distillery Manager, Duncan Tait, and his young team.

Three years to the day on from the launch of the first GlenWyvis share offer on 16th April 2016, Founder and Managing Director, John F Mckenzie, handed over the symbolic keys to GlenWyvis Distillery to Master Distiller, Duncan Tait, who takes on the new role as Distillery Manager.

In the past three years, GlenWyvis has been transformed from an idea to a fully operational distillery producing both single malt whisky and craft Scottish gin. Having overseen the two crowdfunded share offers to date, which attracted almost 4,000 investors and raised over £3.6 million, Mckenzie has decided now is the right time to hand over the day-to-day running of the business to Tait and his young local team.

Having run the business as a volunteer since 2017, Mckenzie will continue to serve on both the distillery finance team and the board of GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society which oversees the business from a strategic and compliance perspective.

GlenWyvis founder, John Mckenzie, commented: “We have come a long, long way in the past three years, and I think we have exceeded everyone’s expectations including our own.

“The business continues to go from strength to strength and I’d like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to my patient wife, my family and friends, the GlenWyvis board, and all our members and followers without whom my idea would not have risen out of the ground.

“This is a great legacy and success story for Dingwall and, arguably, the most important day to date was when Duncan came to GlenWyvis as the Master Distiller. To get someone with his experience, knowledge and skills was a genuine coup for us – and set the project on course for the next ten years. That’s why, with the distillery now fully operational, I’m delighted to be able to hand over the management to Duncan in full confidence that we have created something that he can take forward successfully.”

Looking forward to 2020 and beyond

GlenWyvis recently won best Artisan Drink Business at the Scottish Rural Awards following on from winning Best Business Start Up the previous year. And with GlenWyvis GoodWill Gin driving sales until the day the GlenWyvis single malt arrives on the world whisky stage, Tait and his team are now testing the waters for the proposed Loch Ness Whisky Experience by bringing the GlenWyvis gin trailer to the Loch Ness Clansman Hotel for the summer season.

With the Loch Ness Whisky Experience, a joint venture between GlenWyvis and the hotel owners, Cobbs, set to introduce the fascinating history of illicit distilling in the Highlands to tens of thousands from 2020, the gin trailer will give visitors a wee taste of the GlenWyvis story and GoodWill Gin – and may even encourage visitors to raise a toast to Nessie!

Commenting on this latest development, Distillery Manager, Duncan Tait, said: While we’re finalising our plans for the full whisky experience, we’re delighted to be working with the Cobbs team to bring GlenWyvis to Loch Ness this summer. It is something new for visitors – and we are really looking forward to being on site.

“It comes as we are reaching the end of our second share offer – the target of £1.1 million is within touching distance – and is further evidence that we continue to move forward – not only with production on site in Dingwall, but with ideas to support our community benefit remit.

“We are in a very good place – as a business, as a team – and I’d like to thank John for all his hard work in getting this incredible project to where we are today. With his continued support and the continued support of the board, I’m very excited about where the journey for GlenWyvis will lead in the coming years.”