Scotland to have first community-owned distillery after crowdfund drive smashes target

Whisky bottleScotland’s first ever community-owned distillery is to become a reality after backers ploughed £1.5million into the project through a crowdfunding drive.

The Dingwall-based GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society (GWCBS) smashed its funding target with two days to spare after 1,395 investors invested in the farm-based business venture.

GWCBS launched it crowdfunding campaign in April offering shares for as little as £250 to anyone living in postcode areas near Inverness.

People elsewhere could buy shares for between £750 and £100,000.

More than 200 people also invested £30 to have their names engraved on a “path to the stills” leading up to the distillery’s main entrance. Crowd-funders include Eric Sutherland, who said: “Great project and great for the town.”

The fundraising target has now been increased to £2.25million, allowing late-comers to get in on the action.

Not only will the firm be 100 per cent community-owned, the new micro-distillery, near Dingwall, will be completely powered by green energy.

It is the brainchild of farmer John Mckenzie, supported by a board of directors and local community representatives.

The Glen Wyvis Community Benefit Society said it had launched the campaign in a bid to “reinstate craft whisky distilling to the Dingwall area”.

Dozens of well-wishers and investors took to the project’s web page to congratulate the team on their success.

Richard A Forbes said: “Congratulations to John and all the good people at Glenwyvis Distillery for achieving the minimum goal to go forward with this project. My family and I are happy to be a part of this investment, as we have an ancestral connection to Duncan Forbes. Cheers and best wishes going forward. Can’t wait to sip some of that Glenwyvis scotch whisky in the near future.”

And Eric Sutherland said: “A wee couple of investments from the Sutherland clan in Baillechaul. Great project and great for the town. Look forward to tasting the finished product in a few years time.”

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