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Whisky firm plans temporary visitor centre at site of historic Castletown mill


By Gordon Calder

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A computer generated image of how the new Dunnet Bay Distillers temporary structure could look.
A computer generated image of how the new Dunnet Bay Distillers temporary structure could look.

A plan to create a whisky distillery at an old disused mill on the outskirts of Castletown could be partly funded by the creation of a temporary visitor centre, community building and café at the site.

Dunnet Bay Distillers, which makes the award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, has applied for planning permission to create the temporary facility in the grounds of the Castletown Mill building.

The company acquired the 200-year-old listed building last year and plans to transform it into a whisky distillery and tourist attraction. The project is expected to cost up to £4 million and create 12 jobs.

The family-owned company, which is run by Martin and Claire Murray, wants to construct the sustainable temporary building from three used shipping containers. As well as providing a café there will be a shop and community hub where people can attend events to learn more about the history and the future of the site.

Claire and Martin Murray are co-founders and directors of Dunnet Bay Distillers.
Claire and Martin Murray are co-founders and directors of Dunnet Bay Distillers.

Despite being built from shipping containers, Dunnet Bay Distillers says the design will be "fresh, attractive, and contemporary, situated in a small corner of the site which forms part of the mill grounds".

Mr Murray said: "We’re excited. A temporary building means just that – it will be there while we are creating our new home for whisky, vodka and gin production.

"It’s good news for the local community as it will create new jobs. We are already an important and valued employer in this small coastal community and we are energised by the idea of helping the area become an even more popular destination.

"We therefore expect this initiative to help other local businesses too."

The old mill at Castletown has lain empty for many years.
The old mill at Castletown has lain empty for many years.

If planning permission is granted, and once refurbished, the historic Castletown Mill will take over from the temporary shipping container centre, giving way to a long-term brand home and distillery for Rock Rose Gin, Holy Grass Vodka and a new Scottish whisky.

As previously reported, Dunnet Bay Distillers applied for planning permission to refurbish the mill and the surrounding land and recently received consent for warehousing and bottling facilities at the site.

Its plans would lead to a full refurbishment of the dilapidated building, which has been empty for many years.

The company, which was established in 2014, sells its products throughout Scotland, the rest of the UK and in 24 countries across the world.

The three-storey mill dates from the early 1800s.

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