THE past few weeks have been somewhat sobering for the whisky trade, with both Diageo and Pernod Ricard warning of slower sales in China, in part related to measures implemented there to try to limit conspicuous consumption.

It is, therefore, cheering to be served notice that the industry still has a vibrant future.

Confirmation comes in the form of the announcement that a vision of the Gaelic enthusiast, merchant banker and entrepreneur, the late Sir Iain Noble, to establish a new malt distillery in the south of Skye, is about to be realised. The Torabhaig Distillery, a subsidiary of Mossburn Distillers, will cost more than £5 million and employ eight people as well as becoming Skye's second distillery, sharing the island address with the world-famous Talisker at Carbost.

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Work is expected to begin this summer and the production process could start next year.

The importance of Scotch whisky to the economy is well documented; it is estimated to be worth £4 billion a year in gross added value. This latest indication that it is still in rude health can only raise the spirits.