15th February 2021

An historic mill on the outskirts of Castletown could be transformed after it was bought by a Caithness business.

Martin Murray, the co-founder of Dunnet Bay Distillery, says it offers “exciting potential” for the award-winning firm – though he stressed there was much work to do to bring the plans to fruition.

Mr Murray confirmed that the business had bought the 200-year-old mill building and surrounding land opposite the Castletown beach.

He said the company, which owns the Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, is considering applying for planning permission for the site, which would include refurbishment of the dilapidated, listed mill building.

The aim is to create “further resources” for the expanding business. The distillery products sell strongly across Scotland and the rest of the UK and are also being exported to around 24 countries across the world.

Mr Murray, who started the company with his wife Claire in 2014, said:”We are at the early stages of this particular development, which offers exciting potential for our business and for the local community, not least as our future development plans include the employment of more staff. However, there is much work to do before we will be in a position to make any announcement.”

Dunnet Bay Distillers has gone from strength to strength over the past seven years, winning a number of awards.

A year after they started up Rock Rose gin it took the award for the best new business at the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards.

The same year Dunnet Bay Distillers was also featured among the prize-winners at the Great Taste Awards and the Global Gin Masters, while Rock Rose was chosen as the best new launch design at the World Gin Awards.

In 2016, the company won the new product category at the Highlands & Islands Food & Drinks awards, this time for its Holy Grass vodka.

The three-storey mill dates from the early 1800s but has been lying empty for a long time. Over the years, a few plans have been mooted for the building and did not materialise – but that could be about to change.

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