A Caithness couple are set to restore a derelict mill on Dunnet Bay into a whisky distillery operating alongside their nearby gin and vodka facility.

Dunnet Bay, the maker of Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka, is supporting the £4 million expansion with a pre-sale of its new Stannergill whisky brand. Founders Claire and Martin Murray, who set up the business in 2014, have partnered with Ellon-based auctioneer Whisky Hammer to offer 200 250-litre casks to whisky investors around the world.

Buyers will be able to chart the progression of their cask as it matures for up to 10 years in the forthcoming Castletown Mill Distillery. The whisky is expected to be lighter and fruitier than many traditional Scottish malts, influenced by the distinctive coastal location of the dunnage warehouse.

“We are excited to launch these early opportunities for people not only locally but across the world to get involved by buying a stake in the new whisky,” said Claire Murray, who worked in the hospitality and tourism sector before setting up Dunnet Bay.

HeraldScotland: Claire and Martin MurrayClaire and Martin Murray (Image: Dunnet Bay)

This is the second time Whisky Hammer has exclusively sold casks to raise capital for a new distillery. In 2020, its first cask sale for 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats saw all 200 casks sell in less than 48 hours.

Daniel Milne, co-founder and managing director of Whisky Hammer, said: “Dunnet Bay Distillers is known for producing high-quality spirits, so we’re extremely proud to be representing the first casks of what we’re certain will develop into an incredible dram.

“Cask investment continues to grow in popularity, with those who purchase a cask of Stannergill Whisky able to see their whisky reach different milestones and develop its character and personality. It’s an exciting process to be part of.”

The Murrays returned to Caithness to set up their own business after starting a family. Martin Murray previously worked in the offshore oil and gas industry.