THE family behind Kingsbarns Distillery has backed the Scotch whisky industry to prosper around the world after Brexit, as its first ever release was unveiled.

The Wemyss family is targeting sales of its flagship Dream to Dram whisky in 35 markets worldwide following its official launch in the East Neuk of Fife yesterday, with the first pallets already bound for international destinations.

Dream to Dram, described as being true to the Lowland whisky style, is the debut release from Kingsbarns, where the first spirit was laid down in March 2015. Following an initial investment of £3 million, which began with a three-year restoration project on a semi-derelict farm steading, the distillery officially opened on St Andrews Day in 2014.

William Wemyss, whose family have lived and worked in Fife for generations, said the arrival of Dream to Dram marks the “end of the beginning” for Kingsbarns’ flagship whisky. The spirit will be sold through the international distribution network the family has built up since it entered the industry with the launch of Wemyss Malts, an Edinburgh-based whisky bottling business, in 2005.

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Asked why the family, whose diverse business interests include avocado farming in Australia and tea plantations in Kenya, had decided to launch its first whisky now, Mr Wemyss replied: “When we built the distillery and commissioned the stills, we set up the distillery to produce a single malt that matured early, by putting it into very active casks [to give] the very light fruity spirit we produce.

“We always intended right from the get-go to release a single malt between the years three and four. It is certainly not for collectability – it will be the house style for the Kingsbarns single malt. It will be light, fruity and true to the Lowland style of whisky that has been around for a long time.”

Mr Wemyss, whose family embarked on the Kingsbarns project at the suggestion of local golf caddie Douglas Clement, said the initial launch will be followed by the release of spirits of different ages under the Dream to Dram brand. It is also experimenting with different styles of maturation for future, limited-edition releases.

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The Kingsbarns’ single malt comes as Scotch exports continue to grow. The latest official figures show the value of exports increased by 10.8 per cent to £1.97 billion in the first half of 2018. Exports to the European Union (EU) accounted for 31%, making it the industry’s biggest regional destination by value. However, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) voiced its unease about the Brexit process this week, telling the news agency Reuters that leaving the EU without a deal would threaten the growth of whisky exports. It also expressed concern a no-deal exit could ramp up labelling costs.

Asked whether he had any concerns over the international outlook for Scotch in light of the Brexit deadlock, Mr Wemyss said: “The outlook for single malt is very positive. People are tending to drink less, but better, and that lends itself to the premium segment, which is where single malt is positioned.

“And you can see from all the SWA stats that single malts keep on increasing year on year, so the outlook for Kingsbarns, I think, is extremely positive.

“In terms of Brexit, yes it would be great if the uncertainty could be cleared up. But [in the] worst case scenario, we revert to World Trade Organisation rules.

“The industry has been through lots of ups and downs, [including] a couple of world wars, and we are still here, so we remain very positive about the future of the industry.”

Meanwhile, Mr Wemyss expressed his satisfaction with the progress of its Darnley’s Gin, which is now being distilled on the same grounds at Kingsbarns after production was relocated from London.

Mr Wemyss said the growth prospects for gin remain strong. While there is intense competition among the many brands now on the market, export opportunities are opening up in countries such as Germany, Belgium, France and Spain. Mr Wemyss said: “We see lots of future growth coming from export markets.”