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Three Stills secures £10 million for Borders brownfield distillery site

Published:  20 November, 2015

The Three Stills Company has closed a £10 million funding round to build the first distillery in the Scottish Borders for nearly 200 years.

The company has already acquired a disused industrial site in Hawick on which it intends to start building in 2016.

Plans include a visitor centre to add to the region's existing tourist attractions.

The four-strong team behind Three Stills - Tim Carton, John Fordyce, Tony Roberts and George Tait - are all industry veterans,

Fordyce, director and project leader, said: "Hawick has a very proud legacy as the centre for textile production in Scotland and we felt very strongly that we wanted to uphold this rich industrial tradition and bring back distilling to the region after such a long absence.

"There is a plentiful supply of pure water which the mills have depended on for cashmere and tweed production.

"We also have on our doorstep what is undoubtedly Scotland's most fertile barley-producing land.

"The Scottish Borders Council and local community have been very supportive of our plan: we will be creating jobs in the local area by tapping into a skilled labour market and increasing tourism in the region through our visitor centre."

Clan Fraser whisky

Scotland is home to over 100 malt and grain distilleries and the industry employs some 10,000 people.

The sector is worth nearly £4 billion in export sales. Although the market has been sluggish in recent years, it is showing clear signs of returning to growth.

Recent figures from the Scottish Whisky Association show that while the sector as a whole shrank 3% year on year in the first half of 2015 - a considerable improvement on the previous year's 11% decline - single malt exports were up 5% to £406 million.

"Scotch has shown all the signs of long-term sustainable growth over the last 20 years," chief executive Tim Carton said.

"Malt scotch is vital for blended scotch, as well as for single and blended malts. The pressure on malt supply is ongoing and Three Stills is well positioned to contribute to the next growth phase."

Leading investors include Edinburgh-based investment company Badenoch & Co - whose owner Malcolm Offord, will become chairman of Three Stills - and the Duke of Buccleuch.

The last Borders distillery is believed to have closed in 1837.