Cabrach Trust secures £310,000 in funding for distillery and heritage centre

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A charitable trust which is building an historical distillery and heritage centre in rural Moray has secured £310,000 in funding to allow preparatory work to get underway.

The Cabrach Trust was set up to regenerate the remote Cabrach area – said to be one of the birthplaces of the Scotch whisky industry and famed for illicit stills and smuggling – by attracting visitors and new residents and creating opportunities for local people.

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Work is expected to start later this year on the heritage centre and distillery at Inverharroch in the Lower Cabrach. The distillery will use historical methods of distilling and bottling and the heritage centre will celebrate and share the story of the Cabrach. 

The development will create 12 jobs as well as providing training opportunities for young people and local residents.

The latest round of grants and donations have been provided by a range of trusts and foundations including The William Grant Foundation, which has awarded £125,000; Foundation Scotland from the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Community Fund, which has awarded a grant of £25,000; and the Reekimlane Foundation, which has donated £110,000.

A further £50,000 has come from an anonymous donor.

The William Grant Foundation has awarded £25,000 towards a programme of cultural heritage activities. In the coming months, the Cabrach Trust will be launching its community heritage programme with a project to discover and document the history and heritage of the Cabrach, its land and buildings, its people, families and traditions, and a strategy to then share this heritage with others.

The William Grant Foundation has also awarded further funding of £100,000, which will be used towards the cost of refurbishing the buildings and preparing the site to allow preparatory works to take place this year, with work due to start on the refurbishment and conversion of the buildings in 2019.

The grant from Foundation Scotland and the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Community Fund will be used towards the cost of preparing a building warrant, which will allow the Cabrach Trust to start work on site.

Other donations, including the donation from the Reekimlane Foundation, a long-term supporter of the Cabrach Trust, will be used to support the core costs of the charity, providing funding for key staff and enabling the project to move forward.

Sue Savege, executive director of the Cabrach Trust, said: “We are very grateful to the foundations and organisations for sharing our vision for the Cabrach and generously awarded us funding so far. 2018 is an exciting year for us at the Cabrach Trust and we are all eagerly looking forward to seeing things really starting to progress.

“Now that we have full planning permission for Inverharroch, the next stage is to put the fine detail onto our plans for the heritage centre and the Cabrach Distillery.

“Working with our local community, as well as taking advice from professional partners, we will be developing detailed plans for the museum and heritage centre, our visitor amenities, café and shop, and our outdoor spaces, including the creation of community woodland and walking trails around the site. We want to make the heritage centre a unique and distinctive destination that both local and overseas visitors, families, whisky enthusiasts and heritage lovers alike will find interesting, engaging and compelling, and will want to visit time and time again.”

Michael Cowie, of the Vattenfall Clashindarroch Community Fund Panel, said: “The planned historical distillery and heritage centre is likely to be an important driver of economic and community regeneration in the area.  The Panel is supportive of the efforts being made by local people to progress this strategic project, and was delighted to award this grant towards the next phase of this important development.”

The Cabrach Trust is a social enterprise and all profits generated by the distillery and heritage centre will be reinvested for the benefit of community in the Cabrach and the surrounding villages.

Once construction begins, distilling is expected to get underway in 2019 and the first bottling of mature whisky from the historical distillery made in 2024, with 150,000 bottles expected to be produced each year.

The distillery and heritage centre, shop and cafe will be run by the Cabrach Trust, transforming the existing Inverharroch Farm into the visitor attraction with the aim of putting the Cabrach on the tourist map and marking its place in the story of Scotch whisky.

The adjacent interactive heritage centre will include a café, exhibition space for public and private hire, play area and a gift shop, built around a courtyard and overlooking the River Deveron and the Cabrach hills.

The visitor centre will offer an engaging and informative experience, with a dedicated interpretation centre, a flexible performance and exhibition space and smuggling trails.

Additional funding for the £5.3million project will come from a mix of social finance, grants and charitable trusts and foundations, with several other funding applications in progress.


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