SCOTLAND is to get its very first community-owned distillery – after whisky fanatics stumped up £1.5m.
The GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society, based in Dingwall in the Highlands, smashed their campaigning target last night – with two days left to go.
So far, 1,395 investors have invested in the unique business venture since it launched in April.
And following the success, the crowdfunding page has stretched its target to £2.25m to allow last-minute Scotch enthusiasts to get in on the action.
Not only will the firm be 100% community owned, the new distillery will also be completely powered by green energy.
Construction of the distillery is due to begin this month with the first run of whisky planned for Burns Night 25 January 2017.
The distillery will produce craft Scottish whisky and there are plans in place for an associated visitor centre in the town to help bring visitors to the area.
Dozens of wellwishers and investors took to the page this morning 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.”
Andrew McIntosh wrote: “Already invested. Decided to invest just a wee bit more just now. Good luck with the project. Looking forward to tasting the whisky.”
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.”
GlenWyvis whisky will begin running in January next year, with the first batch being available in 2019.
Many shareholders will get the first taste of their investment by receiving the very first bottles made.
The Glen Wyvis Community Benefit Society launched their campaign in a bid to “reinstate craft whisky distilling to the Dingwall area”.
Founder of GlenWyvis, John McKenzie said: “The last few days were definitely the hardest as the total has grown gradually towards our target – and are now excited to see it move at such a pace – so we are now aiming for our stretch target of £2.25 million so people can still invest right up until 11.59pm on the 24 June.
“It really is history in the making and we are delighted to be able to say we will be reintroducing craft whisky distilling back to the Dingwall area after a gap of 90 years.
“It’s a world first, there’s not another community funded distillery in the world. It’s fantastic. We have two dozen countries representing us from Brazil, Finland, Germany, France, Spain and not forgetting Scotland.
“This is a cool way to do it, getting a community of Scotch Malt enthusiasts and people who are enthusiastic about Scotland.
“The shareholders are not only customers but ambassadors and sales people for GlenWyvis.
“It’s the largest community shared offer in Scotland and if we go past the £2m mark we will be the biggest in the UK.”
The firm offered shares for as little as £250 to anyone living in postcode areas surrounding Inverness.
While everyone else could buy shares for between £750 and £100,000, regardless of where they lived.
Over 200 people also invested £30 to have their names engraved on the “path to the stills” leading up to the main entrance.
GlenWyvis partnered up with Community Shares Scotland for the successful campaign.
Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager at Community Shares Scotland, said: “It is a massive achievement to reach £1 million but this is outstanding and goes to show the depth of interest that communities at large have in this type of community share project.”
More information can be found at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/glenwyvis-distillery/