THE founder of the community-owned distillery in Dingwall has revealed the second share offer was moved forward by three years because people were turning up at his door asking to be involved in the project.
John McKenzie of GlenWyvis Distillery also confirmed that one of the innovative developments the shares will finance would be a glass cube on an elevated platform overlooking the town to be used as a tasting area.
He also hopes to double the amount of community benefit members from 2600 by the end of this year and urged people to get involved now.
The distillery is currently being built on Mr McKenzie’s farm above Dingwall and £2.5 million has already been raised through the first share offer last year.
This latest share offer, launched at the Black Isle Show yesterday, is expected to raise about £750,000 to extend the brand and products, bring gin distilling to Dingwall and develop the visitor experience in and around the town.
Mr McKenzie said they were working on developing a showcase whisky centre at the entrance to Dingwall, tours, transport between the distillery and the town, as well as the elevated glass tasting area – inspired by the recently opened tower at Inverness Castle.
He said on Wednesday that so far 400 people were chomp-ing at the bit to sign up for the second share offer and had pre-registered their interest before the launch.
Mr McKenzie claims the distillery is at the forefront of regeneration of Dingwall and added that separate plans to have an electric outdoor elevator to bring visitors to the distillery would “take time”.
“It is an exciting time, and this new share offer will not only help us to fast-track our brand, but will reduce commercial lending costs, so we can deliver on our community benefit remit sooner,” he said.
“We’ve already created three full-time jobs, with two more advertised now, and up to six more likely to be required when the distillery opens in November. We secured a very strong following in our first share offer and we remain on schedule with the building.”
David O’Connor, chairman of GlenWyvis Distillery, said: “These last few weeks have really seen great change on site, as the exterior walls have gone up, the stills and mash tun delivered, and adverts for the distillery manager and visitor centre development officer making it all very tangible now.
“It is great to see the distillery coming together, showing investors and the local community alike that our plan is on schedule. Our second share offer will help to accelerate our brand development plans as we get down to the real business of making whisky – with our sights firmly set on the first run of spirit in November 2017.”
The minimum investment will be £250 for all investors and supporters.