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Inverness welcomes Uilebheist - the city's first distillery for nearly 40 years

Published: June 29, 2022
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For the first time in nearly 40 years, Inverness will welcome a new £6 million whisky distillery and brewery - Uilebheist -which will be sustainably powered by the water from the nearby River Ness, creating around 40 jobs.

Located on the banks of the river, which finishes its journey in the famous Loch Ness, Uilebheist is a new low carbon distillery and brewery.

Named after the Scots’ Gaelic word for ‘monster’, the ethos of the project is inspired by thousands of years of Scottish folklore aiming to connect Scotland’s ancient past with the present.

Both beer and whisky production will begin this year, and the brewery’s five core beer styles will be available to purchase in late November.

The Uilebheist Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky will be created as the core whisky product and will be released once matured, as will rare cask finishes and single cask bottlings in the years ahead.

Uilebheist owner, Jon Erasmus, commented: “The very foundations of this project were born from Scottish myth and legend.

"We wanted to create something unique to the area, with the distillery, and brewery both powered by the famous River Ness.

"All water used in the processes will also be sourced from the river, meaning that when you drink Uilebheist’s liquid, you really are tasting the Highlands.

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“Creating both beer and whisky simultaneously will allow us to offer an immediate product and whilst we wait for the whisky to reach maturity, there will be an opportunity to own one of a limited number of casks of the Uilebheist Single Malt Whisky distilled in the first year of production, through our cask programme.

“Alongside exceptional beer and whisky, we aim to raise the bar when it comes to visitor experiences and hope that the project will lead the way for Scotland’s hospitality sector in the area.

"The centre will offer a range of tours and experiences ranging from site tours and sampling of our core whisky and craft beer products through to detailed master classes, blending workshops and food pairing menus.”

The distillery, which will open at the end of this year, is on track to be one of the lowest carbon distilleries in the country.

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Onsite heat pumps within the adjoined sustainability centre which are powered by the water from the River Ness will provide heating and hot water which is also distributed throughout the Glen Mhor Hotel complex.

The process will be the first of its kind in Scotland and further development stages are planned which will see significant expansions to the site.

The distillery and brewery will be headed up by Bruce Smith who has a Masters Degree in Brewing & Distilling from Heriot-Watt University and spent the last decade working in the craft beer industry and ageing beer in ex-whisky barrels.

Bruce Smith, Uilebheist master brewer and distiller, added: “We are on track to officially open in November 2022 and begin beer production which visitors can enjoy in the taproom.

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"Whisky production will commence later this year, due to our small scale we will only produce around 200 casks annually, making Uilebheist one of the rarest whiskies in Scotland.

“The whisky will be matured in ex-bourbon and sherry casks, but the whisky will let us know when it’s ready and we have no intention to rush it. Quality is our number one focus.”

The Uilbeheist cask programme is an opportunity to own a cask of the Uilebheist Single Malt Whisky distilled in the first year of production.

Only 100 casks will be made available this year and they will be sold on a first come first served basis. For more information and to register your interest please email casks@uilebheist.com

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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