Wemyss Malts will handle sales and marketing for the new distillery

Wemyss Malts will handle sales and marketing for the new distillery

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The Wemyss family, owner of Wemyss Malts, is to sink GBP3m (US$4.8m) into a new distillery in Scotland, with production set to start next summer.

The Kingsbarns distillery, Fife, is expected to have a 150,000-litre capacity and employ about ten people, a spokesperson for Wemyss told just-drinks today (9 January). Wemyss also confirmed it has taken full control of the company behind the new venture, The Kingsbarns Company of Distillers, whose founder Doug Clements has been planning the site since 2009.

The investment includes GBP670,000 from a Scottish Government Food Processing Marketing and Cooperation grant, one of the first to be issued to a drinks company since a rule change in March. The grant will go towards building costs, with construction expected to start in April, the spokesperson said, adding that it played a factor in the deal.

“It's a sizeable amount of money and it's great to have to Scottish Government's backing on this initiative,” she said.

Clement, who stays on as a director, said Wemyss was interested before the grant, but “things accelerated” after he secured it.

The distillery hopes to tap into Fife's large golf tourism market and will include a visitors centre. It will also showcase Wemyss Malts brands before Kingsbarns own produce is ready to sell in about 2018, with Wemyss Malts to handle sales and marketing. Kingsbarn's single malt will bear the qualities of a lowland whisky and should be "light and delicate", the spokesperson said.

Kingsbarns will be one of Fife's few distilleries.

In September, Diageo received council approval for a GBP150m extended warehouse facility in the region, to complement the group's increase in capacity at its Cameronbridge and Leven distilleries.