The Herald:

A SCOTTISH distiller is bidding to breathe new life into a crumbling mill as part of a multi-million-pound expansion plan.

Dunnet Bay Distillers has submitted a planning application to Highland Council for permission to refurbish a 200-year-old mill and surrounding land at Castletown, near the distillery’s headquarters.

The Caithness-based company which owns the multi-award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, acquired the historic mill in 2021. If planning is granted, the restoration and fit-out of the refurbished building could cost up to £4million.

The plans involve a full refurbishment of the dilapidated, listed mill building, with a view to creating further resources for the rapidly expanding business including a visitor centre and a whisky distillery.

Dunnet Bay Distillers products sell globally, with strong sales across Scotland and the rest of the UK as well as being distributed in 24 countries across the world, the firm said.

The Herald:

The eco-friendly spirits company was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife team Claire Murray and Martin Murray, both of whom are directors of the business.

Mr Murray said: “If it goes ahead, this particular development offers exciting potential for our business and for the local community, not least as our future development plans include the employment of up to 12 more staff. However, we wait to see if planning permission is granted.

“In the meantime, we have achieved permission to develop a temporary visitor centre, café and shop near the site of the old mill.”

Ms Murray said: “As the new custodians of the mill, we’re excited at the prospect of regenerating and breathing new life into the building.  We are keen to tell its story and to add to the wonderful history as we hopefully move to re-establishing the mill as a proud Caithness landmark once again.

“We would be grateful to hear from anyone with connections to the Mill and who have stories and images throwing more light on the history of this wonderful place. We aim to make it into a local destination distillery and so the history is something we wish to remember.”

The appointed architects are Organic Architects, based in Helensburgh. The firm’s director, Andrea Wise, said: “This is a rare opportunity for a thriving local business to regenerate this landmark building which has been unable to find a user for decades. Historic Environment Scotland have been consulted during the design process to ensure that the necessary changes are as appropriate as possible for the old Mill.     

“The distillery will be powered by green electricity, making it one of the most sustainable distilleries in the industry.”

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