The path less well travelled
Nestled beneath the sprawling mass of Ben Wyvis mountain in the Scottish Highlands, GlenWyvis Distillery was established in 2015. The idea was to unite the community of Dingwall through the creation of a distillery owned in-part by local people.
Dingwall’s last whisky distillery closed in 1926. After a 90 year absence, GlenWyvis revived the town’s lost distilling tradition, and made its own history in 2016 by running a record-breaking open share offer. More than 3,000 like-minded people invested in GlenWyvis to create the first ever 100% community-owned distillery. It was an incredible response to an extraordinary idea.
We are inspired by our beautiful landscape, and motivated to preserve it. GlenWyvis is pioneer of sustainable distilling; wind, hydro, solar and biomass energy power our operations.
What we believe
The distillery is built on shared hopes and dreams, one shared community spirit. Honouring this is important to us, so we’ve all agreed on shared values to help guide and influence us on this journey.
We are constantly refining our methods and mindset. Whisky distilling may be an ancient Scottish tradition, but we have crafted a truly modern distillery.
GlenWyvis is a local and global community of like-minded people. Everything we do is for our friends, supporters and investors. We wouldn’t be here without them.
Our barley is locally sourced, and our water runs straight off Ben Wyvis and into our on-site bore hole. Our products make the grade.
It’s not easy creating a brand new distillery. But we did it, and as a result we realised an incredible dream for our investors – 3,000 people now part-own a single malt whisky distillery. That’s something to celebrate.
We’re building for the future. Our distillery is powered by renewable energy, which is better for us, better for our local community, and better for planet.
John MckenzieFounder and Managing Director
John is the Flying Farmer - an ex-Army Air Corps helicopter pilot, farmer and green energy advocate. He visited a large number of Scotland’s distilleries while setting-up GlenWyvis – mostly by helicopter! When he’s not taking GlenWyvis to new heights, John is in his wellies tending to his cows, sheep and alpacas.
Duncan TaitDistillery Manager
Duncan has enjoyed almost three decades working in distilleries throughout Scotland, but his roots are in the Highlands. He’s happy to be back and at the helm of a brand new whisky and gin adventure.
Josh FraserOffice Manager
Josh is our organisational hero. He started at the distillery straight from school, although he’s more concerned with finance and logistics than product sampling.
Craig MacRitchieHead of Sales and Events Coordinator
Craig may have studied zoology at university, but he leaves the farming to John. Craig is our whisky man. You’ll find him at industry events around the world, ready to give you a sample dram and chat business.
Michael FraserMarketing and Tourism Strategy Officer
Michael is a history and archaeology graduate, but he’s also a third generation Highland distillery worker. All in all, he knows a thing or two about local whisky lore.
Across the Cromarty Firth from Dingwall, the famous Ferintosh Privilege is granted to local landowner Duncan Forbes. He is allowed to distil whisky on his land duty-free.
The Ferintosh Privilege is revoked, ending almost 100 years of mass whisky production on the Black Isle. Robert Burns laments ‘Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost! Scotland lament frae coast to coast!’
Dingwall ironmonger, agricultural merchant and town Baillie D.G. Ross builds Ben Wyvis Distillery. It takes 90 men nine months to blast away the Dingwall hillside to make way for the site.
Glenskiach Distillery opens in Evanton, a few miles north of Dingwall. The distillery was designed by famous distillery architect of the Victorian age, Charles Doig.
As a result of global economic depression, both Ben Wyvis and Glenskiach distilleries close. Glenskiach is soon demolished, however Ben Wyvis remains standing until the 1990s.
Invergordon Distillery starts distilling Ben Wyvis single malt whisky within its grain distillery complex. Most of the single malt goes into blended whiskies.
A crash in the US economy impacts the Scottish whisky industry and Invergordon ceases production of Ben Wyvis. The stills are later repurposed by Glengyle Distillery in Campbelltown.
GlenWyvis Distillery in Dingwall is established. Founder John Mckenzie was inspired by the area’s rich whisky history, and embarks upon raising local support for the project.
GlenWyvis launches its first share offer, which raises £2.6 million in 77 days. 2,200 people invest in the project, breaking records and making national headlines. Construction of the distillery begins.
GlenWyvis opens its second share offer, and 1,000 more people invest in the project. The distillery build is finished in November, and Duncan Tait joins the team as Distillery Manager.
GlenWyvis Distillery starts both whisky and gin production. GlenWyvis Whisky is laid down in casks, and GoodWill Gin enters the market.