Multi-Million-Pound Investment Granted to The Cabrach Trust

The Cabrach Trust has been granted £3.5 million to build a Scotch whisky distillery in Moray.

The distillery’s location in Cabrach, on the southern edge of Moray, is well renowned for its smuggling and illicit stills. It is also allegedly one of the Scotch whisky industry’s birthplaces.

Cabrach was once known for housing over 1000 residents, including several rebellious smugglers, illicit distilleries and Jacobites. However, the population declined due to several wars, and fewer than 100 people live in Cabrach today. 

whisky barrels sunny day


The heritage centre received planning permission for the distillery in September 2017. After securing £310,000 in funding, they were due to begin building on the site in 2018.

The project has now taken a leap forward after gaining a vast £3.5m investment sum, and the Trust expects construction to start in February 2022. The site should be in use as of spring 2023. 

A programme using renewable energy sources will repair a 19th-century steading at the Trust’s Inverharroch base.

The distillery and traditional dunnage warehouse will sit in two wings of the steading, whilst the other wings will house a community bistro, heritage centre, tasting room and visitor reception. 

Through the distillery’s build, the Cabrach Trust aims to propel a sustainable community and operate the site as a social enterprise; it will utilise ‘historic methods’ reflective of the 1800s production of malt whisky when ‘real Cabrach whisky’ was well known and loved. The distillery will provide the Trust with a sustainable income and become a key social hub for the remote and dispersed community.

Richard Lochhead MSP said: “The Cabrach is a unique community with an incredibly rich heritage. It is widely believed that the Cabrach is the birthplace of Scotch whisky and plans for a new distillery and heritage centre are not only fitting but also hugely exciting.”

Chief executive of The Cabrach Trust, Jonathan Christie, 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.”

A primary finder of the Trust, the Ethos Foundation has pledged its support to the project, alongside capital grants from the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Wind Farm Community Fund and the William Grant Foundation. 

Forsyth’s distilling equipment is also one of the project’s backers, and in 2021, the Bently Foundation gave a large grant to the scheme.

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