A malt specialist has ramped up its capacity in Scotland to help meet booming demand for specialist ingredients among the growing numbers of independent whisky distillers.

Crisp Malt has opened a new kiln at its Portgordon site near Peterhead in a move that will allow it to more than double the amount of peated malt it produces annually.

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The company said it made the move in response to increasing demand from craft distillers in Scotland and whisky makers in Japan.

It has just won a five-year deal worth around £1.1 million to supply peated malt and other specialised variants to the Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh.

This recently became Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s.

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A range of distilleries have opened or been brought back into production in recent years amid surging interest in Scotch overseas.

Crisp Malt’s success shows how the benefits of the Scotch boom are filtering into the wider economy.

The Portgordon kiln uses peat sourced from St Fergus near Peterhead and barley from nearby farms.

Malt is produced in a process that involves drying barley. Variations in the drying temperature can affect the colour and flavour of the resulting malt.

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Crisp Malt said it had been working closely with Holyrood Distillery’s founder David Robertson and his distilling team to help them select different speciality malts as part of their quest to create the maximum flavour in their whiskies.

It also supplied malt for The 1770 Peated Release No. 1 whisky launched by Glasgow Distillery in August.