The proposed Kingsbarns distillery in Fife has taken a massive step forwards with the securing of enough Scottish Government cash to pay for 30% of the project.

The planned distillery received a grant of more than £670,000 from the Food Processing Marketing and Cooperation scheme, putting it on track to start building work this year and begin distillation in 2014.

This was after it appealed against the original award of some £558,000.

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The Government backing means a major investor has agreed to come on board, enabling the scheme to proceed.

Former golfing caddie Doug Clement, who is founding director and project manager at the distillery, said: "We will be starting work in the spring and it will be some time in the summer of 2014 when the distilling begins and the visitor centre opens."

He declined to reveal the identity of his new investor.

Mr Clement had previously attempted crowd funding, a method of attracting a large number of small investors.

But while this did not gain the necessary backing, it did bring the company to the attention of those interested in the whisky industry.

Mr Clement is confident that Kingsbarns distillery will be a draw for tourists from the nearby golf resort of St Andrews, anticipating it could bring in as many as 80,000 visitors a year.

The distillery, planned for the late 18th-century East Newhall Farm Steading on the Cambo Estate, already has full planning consent from Fife Council. The company was formed in May 2009.

The Scotch Whisky Association calculates producers have committed to investing £2 billion in the industry over the next few years.

In the year to the end of June 2012, Scotch whisky exports hit a record level of £4.2bn with demand coming from emerging markets as well as established ones in countries such as the United States and France.