A new food and drink venue on a Scottish island that was the vision of the late racing driver and Marquess of Bute Johnny Dumfries is to launch at the weekend.

Bute Yard, described as a versatile food and drink destination, will be launched with a market on Sunday, June 4 by Jenni Minto, MSP for Argyll and Bute.

The site is set up among a series of historic buildings in the Isle of Bute’s main town of Rothesay.

The building includes a distillery operated by the award-winning Isle of Bute Distillery, tap room run by Bute Brew Co, pop-up café and flexible indoor and outdoor event space which will be open for business year-round.

The historic Isle of Bute Smokehouse will also have a permanent base at Bute Yard.

Organisers said the new venue will “support and complement long-standing local events, corporate and private events, as well as other community initiatives”.

Bute Yard was envisaged by the marquess as a community project with the dual purpose of developing the Isle of Bute economy and its community through collaboration and answering the needs of the local food and drink sector for growth and expansion.

The Bute family, working in close partnership with Mount Stuart Trust and other island stakeholders, as well as the Isle of Bute community, “have not only materialised Johnny’s vision, but also created a legacy that can be experienced and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike”.

Full name John Crichton-Stuart, the 7th marquess was a former Formula 1 driver who was known as Johnny Bute and raced under the name Johnny Dumfries, and won the 24-hour Le Mans race in 1988. He died in 2021.

The market on the first Sunday of every month is free to attend and there will be local food, small batch drinks, art, crafts and live music. The island is a 40-minute ferry journey from Wemyss Bay.

The Herald: Bute Yard is opening just around the corner from the site of the original 16th century St Bruix FairBute Yard is opening just around the corner from the site of the original 16th century St Bruix Fair (Image: Bute Yard)

Cathleen Crichton-Stuart, director of Bute Yard and Isle of Bute Smokehouse, said: “The opening of Bute Yard is a major milestone for the Isle of Bute and the wider food and drink scene in rural Scotland.

“Over the last few years, Bute has experienced an exciting revival in food and drink, thanks to local producers like Isle of Bute Distillery and groups like Bute Kitchen. Bute Yard will play a major role in providing a space that taps into our heritage as well as our future as a successful food destination.

“The versatile space we’ve created at Bute Yard is truly inspiring and will form a unique and stimulating backdrop for a variety of events and memorable experiences.”

Rhona Madigan-Wheatley, co-founder of Isle of Bute Distillery, said: “We are delighted to be moving into Bute Yard. It’s been a three-year journey to arrive at this point since we first met with the late Johnny Bute to discuss and create a new venue of this kind.

"Bute Yard is now the permanent home of Isle of Bute Distillery and Bute Brew Co and we are excited to see the catalyst effect this venue will have on other small businesses on the island.

"For us, Bute Yard has created the platform that allowed us to revive Bute Brew Co after it closed in 2018. It’s the first success story of Bute Yard and we’re excited by what the future of the venue has in store.”

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