Multi million pound funding announced for The Cabrach Distillery and Heritage Centre

Plans to breathe new life into a rural community has taken a step forward with the announcement of multi-million-pound funding to deliver The Cabrach Distillery and Heritage Centre.

Published 13th Dec 2021
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The Cabrach Distillery and Heritage Centre is a project which will showcase the craft and alchemy of making Scotland’s national drink while telling the story of the historic region.

The Cabrach, a remote, upland area in the North East of Scotland, was a once thriving community of over 1,000 residents and a legendary haunt of rebellious Jacobites, illicit distillers and smugglers.

However, the devastation wrought by the Great Wars began a spiral of depopulation and decline. Today fewer than 100 people call the Cabrach home.

Moves to regenerate the area as a sustainable community have been driven by The Cabrach Trust, who have confirmed it has secured the £3.5million needed to activate this eagerly anticipated project which will be delivered in harmony with the natural environment of the Cabrach.

Grant Gordon OBE, Founder and Chairman of The Cabrach Trust, said: “Our vision is to regenerate the Cabrach as a thriving, sustainable community.

"Having secured funding for this project represents a critical milestone for the Trust and we look forward to embarking on this exciting next chapter in the Cabrach’s story.”

A 19th-century steading at the Trust’s Inverharroch base will be restored to its former glory through a sympathetic restoration programme while sustainability will be at the heart of the transformation, incorporating an innovative renewable energy source.

This project represents the cornerstone of the Trust’s transformational regeneration masterplan for the Cabrach, which will not only bring about much-needed skilled, permanent employment to the area, but attract thousands of visitors every year, placing the natural beauty and unparalleled history of the area centre stage.

The Ethos Foundation, a principal funder of The Cabrach Trust, has pledged its support to the project, alongside capital grants from the William Grant Foundation and the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund.

Forsyths, one of the world leaders in the supply of distillation equipment and based in nearby Rothes, are also contributing considerably. The Bently Foundation also awarded a significant grant to the project in 2021.

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With an award-winning design team appointed, led by Collective Architecture, funding secured, and planning approval in place, enabling works on site are expected to get underway in February 2022, with the aim of being operational by spring 2023.

Jonathan Christie, Chief Executive of The Cabrach Trust, said: “With the build commencing early in the New Year, we look forward to sharing progress as our one-of-a-kind social enterprise unfolds, whilst launching several other exciting projects all poised to go live in 2022.

“We are humbled by the support provided by the Ethos Foundation, Bently Foundation and our other core funders.

"It is a privilege to work with and alongside such an array of incredible peer, community, and funding partners.

"The Cabrach Distillery and Heritage Centre is central to our regeneration plans and the long-term sustainability of this important community.”

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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