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Isle of Harris Distillers launches this summer

Published:  21 May, 2015

This summer the Herbridean island's first commercial whisky distiller called the Isle of Harris Distillers is set to launch.

Ahead of the launch the company has raised funds for a new maturation warehouse that will be able to store up to 4,000 casks. The warehouse is set to be completed in June.

Simon Erlanger, the managing director of Isle of Harris Distillers,  said: "An opportunity came along to buy a piece of land at Ardhasaig, only three miles from the distillery site in Tarbert in a perfect spot for our casks to benefit from the prevailing weather arriving from the Atlantic."

The business was set up with the intention of helping to support the island's economy, where well-paid, long-term employment is hard to find. The funding for the new warehouse is a combination of both equity and grants.

A grant close to £250,000 was provided by the Highlands & Islands Enterprise. To date the company has raised a total of £8.3m in equity from its shareholders and £3.1m has been provided through grants.

The investment has been raised through 17 private investors from Britain, the US, Europe and the Far East.

"The fundraising had been planned with our existing shareholders and it was oversubscribed which is a very gratifying vote of confidence in the company and our progress," said Erlanger.

The land was purchased from a local business man Roddy MacAskill, who sees the distillery as an important source of employmet for the local community.  He said: "This will be good for the village of Tarbert and the island and I gladly agreed to the company setting up on my croft. The distillery has already employed local people - a great boost for an area starved of paid regular employment."