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Proposal for old mill at Castletown goes to Highland Council

By Gordon Calder

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A PLAN to redevelop an historic mill on the outskirts of Castletown could take a step forward if a planning application is approved by Highland Council.

Dunnet Bay Distillers, which produces award-winning gin and vodka, wants permission to build a bottling hall and maturation warehousing on 1.58 hectares of vacant land adjacent to the 200-year-old mill and to the north-east of Stanergill Crescent.

The company, which was formed by Martin and Claire Murray, bought the mill and surrounding ground earlier this year and is considering turning it into a whisky distillery.

Mr Murray said: “Our sales and distribution reach has grown exponentially during the past year and we’re now hoping to construct a bigger warehouse to keep up with fulfilling demand for our Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka.

“In addition to e-commerce sales through our website, retail sales continue well within branches of Sainsbury’s in Scotland and, since early April, through outlets of Marks and Spencer Scotland, which have provided a significant boost for the business. Customers like to buy Scottish produce, especially from a firm whose team pride themselves on sustainable practices as we do.”

He described the purchase of the building, opposite the Castletown beach, as “an exciting opportunity” and one which could create “further resources” for the expanding business as well as additional jobs.

The firm’s Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka brands sell strongly in Scotland and the rest of the UK and are exported to around 24 countries.

Dunnet Bay Distillers was formed seven years ago and since then has won a number of awards, including for best new business at the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards in 2014 and the new product category in 2016.

The three-storey mill dates from the early 1800s but has been lying empty for many years.

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