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New Scottish whisky region to be created on the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides

Published:  06 March, 2014

A new whisky region is being created with the buildilng of the first distillery on the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

The distillery being built in Tarbert on the island will be only the second distillery built across the Outer Hebrides and will be used to produce a new single malt called The Hearach, the gaelic name for the inhabitants of the island.

The Isle of Harris Distillery Ltd has managed to raise £10 million from both public and private investors, including 17 investors from around the world, to help build the distillery with work having now started on the site. Key backers include Highlands & Islands Enterprise, the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise through its Globalscot network. 

Not only does the distillery mark a new whisky region it will bring 20 important jobs to what has become an economically difficulat area. The project has received backing from the Harris Tweed Authority, and is said to have the full support of the people of the islands as well as local politicians.

Simon Erlanger, director of the distillery, said: "We are building the 'social distillery' for the island and people of Harris. The Hearach single malt will create sustainable employment and economic growth and optimism for the people of Harris - while the spirit of Harris itself will shape the unique character of this new whisky.

"Harris is an elemental place. The way of life in the island has deep roots, its people take time to savour what they enjoy and we believe The Hearach single malt will reflect that."

The new distillery is expected to be finished within a year and will have the capacity to produce around 300,000 bottles of single malt whisky a year. It will also look to make its own Harris gin.

But whisky retailers will have to wait four years before they get the chance to sell Hearach as it has to mature in the distillery's warehouse. A limited number of casks from the first year's production will, however, be made available for sale to individuals.

Visitors to the island will get the chance to join a members' club and keep up to date with the distillery's plans.

Anderson Bakewell, founder and chairman of the distillery, added:  "One should not underestimate the challenges of getting this venture off the ground, but once airborne, the view of the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides is breathtaking. What is particularly exciting, at a time when Scotch whisky is enjoying spectacular growth, is the prospect of bringing something of real value both to the industry and the islands."

More information on the Hearach and the distillery is available on the company's website at