Plans submitted for new Dornoch Firth distillery

Dylan MacdonaldGeneral News

Outline plans for a new malt whisky distillery beside the Dornoch Firth have been lodged with Highland Council.

The Midfearn Distillery Company Ltd. proposes to build its distillery on the Midfearn Estate at Easter Fearn, three miles south-east of the village of Ardgay on a site close to where whisky was first produced more than 200 years ago.

A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted to Highland Council’s Planning Department. This starts a public consultation phase during which the local community will have the opportunity to see and comment on the proposals. There will be an initial, face-to-face consultation event at Edderton Village Hall on Wednesday 1st December, from 3.00pm till 7.00pm with supporting information available on the website from Friday 19th November. A further virtual consultation event will be held on Thursday 20th January 2022 from 3.00pm till 7.00pm, including a live chat facility.

After completion of the consultation process, the company would be cleared to submit a detailed planning application.

Whisky was first made at Midfearn more than 200 years ago. The Easter Fearn site is close to what is believed to be the location of the Midfearn Distillery established in 1798 by local businessman, George Ross. This closed after a few years in operation and Ross went on to work with other local distilling interests.

The 13,000-acre Midfearn Estate has been in the Brooke family since 1893. The current custodian, Charlie Brooke, believes the distillery will be an important development in providing employment and economic benefit to the wider community.

Midfearn Estate already provides electricity from existing wind and hydro power projects and the long-term sustainability of its energy source will form an important element of the distillery’s development.

Charlie Brooke said: “The Scotch Whisky industry has advanced significantly since the opening of the first Midfearn Distillery and we will not only set out to make a distinctive and high-quality whisky, but we will prioritise environmental sustainability and work towards carbon neutrality at every stage of the project.

“This is a family business that will build and grow this enterprise on a beautiful site within the Dornoch Firth National Scenic Area and we look forward to working with the local community to return whisky-making to Easter Fearn, with all the benefits that will bring to the economy of the area.”

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