A NEW Inverness distillery has announced a trio of appointments as its debut products hit the market.

The £7.5 million Uile-bheist Distillery and Brewery has hired a general manager, head distiller, and head brewer.

The additions come shortly after Uile-bheist became the first distillery to open in the city in 130 years when it launched in February.

With its first two beers now on the market and as it prepares to cask its maiden single malt, the distillery has appointed Highlander Donnie Christian as general manager, Mr Christian joints with 30 years’ experience as a retail and visitor centre manager in Scotland and Ireland.

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Andrew Shearer, a former head distiller at Kinara in the Cairngorms National Park and whisky quality analyst at Glen Turner, has joined as head distiller.

And Andrew Hodgson, formerly of Black Isle Brewery and Tempest Brewing Co in the Borders, has been drafted in to head the brewing operation.

The company’s first small-batch craft beers, Inverness Lager and Forest Dweller IPA, are on sale now in local hotels and the distillery’s on-site tap room.

Production of its Dark Horse Highland stout is currently under way and the distillery is expecting a busy summer season of visitor tours.

Mr Christian said: “What we have here is pretty unique. We want to maximise its potential but do that in a way which is sustainable. This informs all of our processes.”

“We’ve got a fantastic new team, with our two Andrews, who are adapting the distilling and brewing process around our sophisticated Kaspar Schulz technology, from Germany.

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“Ultimately, we want products we are proud of, and production is developing nicely. We also want to help make Inverness - one of the fastest growing UK cities- a base which visitors want to stay in and enjoy.”

Casks of the distiller’s inaugural single malt are available to purchase from £6,000.

Mr Shearer, who is overseeing production, said: “Because we are using brewer’s yeast instead of traditional distiller’s yeast, we are getting a lot of character. We are leaving a lot more flavour in, perhaps at the cost of yield, but we are all about quality and that uniqueness of character.”

Mr Hodgson added: “Coming here was an opportunity to work on what I feel is the most sophisticated brewhouse in Scotland of this size, especially in terms of the wider aspects such as the aesthetic of the place and what it is trying to achieve in terms of sustainability.

“The rewards so far have been great, in terms of the product. It is a very exciting time.”