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Raasay distillery opening just 'latest sign that the distilling business is booming'

The launch of the new Raasay Distillery shows the whisky industry is in rude health, finds Sean Murphy

Published: September 21, 2017
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With acclaimed whisky writer Dave Broom cutting the ribbon on the newly launched Raasay Distillery last weekend, it seems that the good times for Scotland’s distilling scene continue to roll on.

Co-founders Alasdair Day and Bill Dobbie, who founded R & B Distillers, joined Mr Broom, along with a large part of the island’s 120-strong community and guests from the writing and blogging community to enjoy a ceremony in which a toast was raised to Scotland’s newest distillery.


Dave Broom cuts the ribbon. Picture: George Rankine

Situated on a small island, only 14 miles in length, lying just off the East coast of Skye, Day described the completion of the project on Raasay as a “dream come true” before adding: “It is the location; an island off an island with complex geology, water and island climate with probably the best views form any distillery in Scotland, that makes Raasay ideal for our innovative Scotch whisky distillery.”

• READ MORE: Isle of Raasay gets its first whisky distiller

The new site will be the first of two the entrepreneurial pair hope to launch, with a second distillery planned for the Borders where Day’s great grandfather, Richard Day was a master-blender in the early 19th Century.

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And they aren’t the only company making waves with announcements of new distillery projects either, as David Williamson, public affairs director at the Scotch Whisky Association explained when he spoke at a special conference on Scotland’s distillery scene in the capital yesterday.

Discussing the exciting trend for the emergence of not just large-scale distillery projects by bigger companies but also smaller craft ones too, Williamson said that there was no less than 40 or so projects in the pipeline - at various stages of development. It’s an intriguing fact, and one that flies in the face of fears surrounding the uncertainty of Brexit, another subject the SWA man was only too happy to discuss.

During his speech, Williamson pointed out that though there had been a dip in export figures recently, 2016 was much more robust and that the stats for 2017 were also “looking positive”.

It seems it’s more good news for the country’s food and drink sector, which has recently also celebrated its burgeoning gin scene with a brand new national awards ceremony in Glasgow.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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