R&B Distillers charts growth with Machrihanish Distillery and Caskshare deal

R&B Distillers charts growth with Machrihanish Distillery and Caskshare deal

Pictured (L-R): David Nicol (co-founder of Caskshare), Norman Gillies (operations director, R&B Distillers), William Dobbie (managing director, R&B Distillers), and Alasdair Day (co-founder & master distiller, R&B Distillers)

R&B Distillers has secured planning permission from Argyll and Bute Council to establish the Machrihanish Distillery in Campbeltown.

Furthermore, R&B Distillers has acquired a controlling stake in Caskshare.com, an eCommerce platform and bottler specialising in single cask spirits.

The planned distillery, which will operate on a farm-to-bottle model, aims to not only produce premium single malt Scotch whisky but also pioneer sustainable practices in distilling, with plans for a net-zero model and job creation in the region.

William Dobbie, managing director of R&B Distillers, which already own the award-winning Isle of Raasay Distillery, said: “Our Machrihanish Distillery news and Caskshare majority stake puts us on a clear track towards achieving our vision of becoming the leading new wave spirits business in Scotland.”

R&B purchased the Dhurrie Farm in Machrihanish in 2021, and having received the green light for the distillery development – starting with whisky production followed by a full visitor experience, shop, and tasting room – will now work with various stakeholders around environmental guidelines and other conditions before beginning construction on the site next year.

The Machrihanish Distillery will deliver a new single malt Scotch whisky for R&B, which, “while different in style of spirit and region, will exhibit a similar philosophy around provenance, quality, and community regeneration”.

R&B plans to develop a sustainable net zero distilling model that removes any fossil fuel use from the whisky distilling process, using regenerative, environmentally friendly farming practices and creating greater biodiversity in the surrounding area. Up to 20 new jobs will be created in the region over time, having a positive impact on the local economy.

Mr Dobbie added: “The rubber stamp for the distillery marks a major milestone on our journey in Campbeltown.

“When the whisky becomes of age our investment will go beyond production, attracting visitors to the region and supporting the local economy in a similar way to our existing distillery on Raasay.

“We are excited to be making this investment in Campbeltown and supporting the local economy through jobs and visitors. This milestone has particular significance to our family as my father Bill’s family come from Drumlemble, a small village between Machrihanish and Campbeltown.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped us get to this stage – including Argyll and Bute Council, neighbouring whisky producers Glen Scotia and J&A Mitchell, and most importantly our customers and partners for continuing to support R&B and our brands.”

Regarding R&B’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Caskshare.com, over time, the distiller plans to add other cask-aged spirits like rum and cognac to the platform and will initially target markets in Europe and the United States. Currently, Caskshare specialises in offering whisky fans single cask whiskies by the bottle, including Scotch whiskies, R&B-owned brands, and world whiskies, and enables producers to sell directly to consumers worldwide.

R&B Distillers reported revenue of £5.0 million in the year ended 31 December 2023, and now sells in 40 markets worldwide after launching the Isle of Raasay Gin in mid-2019 and the Isle of Raasay Single Malt at the end of 2020. The company has set its sights on growing sales to over £25m in the next decade.

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