The new Banchory-based Twin River Distillery, which is thought to be the first new whisky distillery in Royal Deeside for almost 200 years, is the brainchild of the team behind Deeside Brewery, which will now be expanding its range of craft drinks to include whisky as well as beer and gin.
£200k was recently invested in the brewery to help accommodate the production of its spirits, with plans for entirely new premises slated for 2018, where a further £1.4m of investment will help to build a new brewery, distillery and visitor centre with taproom in the heart of Banchory.
Funds for the new production site are going to be sought through both internal and external sources including private investment and crowdfunding, via the sale of early release octaves (55L casks), say the team, while in the meantime, the new distillery, which has already created its first gin, will begin the production and laying down of its first casks of Twin River Whisky.
To support the development and production of its products, the distillery has appointed Andrew Tulloch as distiller and he’ll be joined by new brand director Ryan Rhodes, who has has over 12 years of experience in the global bar and drinks trade, including a two-year stint in Singapore and helping to run the Dusk Bar in Aberdeen.
Rhodes said: “I’m passionate about craft drinks. My experience working in bars around the world has shown me that people want authentic quality when it comes to premium spirits.
“There is real potential for us to be a leader in the Scottish craft drinks market and I’m excited about being an integral part of Twin River – both in the production of and selling of our products.”
The industry veteran added that the new distillery will use wash from the brewery in the production of its craft drinks, to ensure a completely authentic offering.
He said: “To create a whisky, you firstly need a wash which is fundamentally an 8 per cent beer.
“We’ve used our brewing knowledge to create a wash which includes chocolate malt before distilling it to cask strength and laying it down in 55L virgin charred American oak casks. This type of cask ages the whisky much quicker.”
The brand’s first spirit, Twin River Gin, is already proving popular after debuting earlier this month at Sessions – Aberdeen’s first outdoor craft beer and gin festival.
Rhodes and the team say they are also keen to highlight some of the major misconceptions surrounding the creation of Scottish craft gins.
Rhodes added: “The thing that differentiates Twin River products from our competition is that is that almost always, with the exception of two other distilleries in the North East (LoneWolf and Arbikie) we are focusing on true Scottish provenance, using 100 per cent of our own spirit. Our gin is as real as it gets.”