THE company planning to build the first grain distillery in the Scottish Borders has assembled senior figures from the Scottish drinks industry to steer the project through to full production at the St Boswells site.

Chief executive Trevor Jackson has announced the appointment of whisky industry veteran David Brown, formerly of Allied Domecq, Whyte & Mackay and John Crabbie & Co, as commercial director of the project.

He has been joined at Jackson by Tommy Leigh, whose 40 years in the whisky industry has included 37 at the North British Distillery in Edinburgh, latterly as production director. Mr Leigh has been appointed operations director of the company.

READ MORE: Huge distillery plan hatched to boost Scottish Borders economy

A third hire by Jackson has seen Nick Laird, who has worked in automotive and technology-enabled businesses for more than 30 years, as deputy chief executive.

Mr Brown, who has worked on several new distillery build projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh, said: “Having worked with some of Scotland’s best known spirits brands, I am looking forward to working with the next generation of distilleries, creating innovative and environmentally sustainable products that are going to carry the industry into the next century.”

Mr Leigh added: “The St Boswells Distillery will be the first carbon absorbing distillery in Scotland capable of producing grain spirit for scotch whisky and grain neutral spirit, and I am excited to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of its development. There is a gap in the market for low carbon and fully traceable spirit and being able to fill that gap not only supports our own business but helps to bolster the sector as a whole.”

Jackson Distillers secured planning permission for the grain distillery, which will produce 20 million litres of pure alcohol per year, at the end of 2021. It estimates that 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project, with 20 people employed full time at the distillery when it is operational.

Unveiling plans for the project in July last year, Mr Jackson said the spirit produced by the distillery will used to meet demand from Scotch whisky blenders, and to provide grain neutral spirit to the gin and vodka industries. It will be just the second grain distillery to be built in Scotland in around 25 years and join the seven currently in operation north of the Border. Those are Cameronbridge, owned by Diageo, Girvan (William Grant & Sons), Invergordon (Whyte & Mackay), Loch Lomond (Loch Lomond Group), North British Distillery (North British Co), Starlaw (Glen Turner Co) and Strathclyde (Chivas Brothers).

Mr Jackson said today: “The St Boswells Distillery is set to be a gamechanger for the sector, and I think the calibre of the talent we have been able to attract to our senior management team is a testament to that. I am looking forward to working with David, Tommy and Nick to drive forward the next phase of this transformative, innovative and sustainable project.”