A topping out ceremony has taken place held at MacMillan’s new gin and whisky distillery in Benbecula to celebrate the final roof sections being lifted into place on its unique distillery ‘lighthouse’.
The distillery building is a former crab processing plant and the replica lighthouse, designed by sustainable distillery specialists Organic Architects as part of the renovation, is a nod to the island’s rich maritime location. It contains a lit spirit still which is visible along the causeway leading from Benbecula to North Uist.
Bari Reid, Director, Organic Architects, said, “This building illustrates our design approach, marrying sustainability and brand into a unique building. Not only is this a bold new landmark on a remote, rugged island coastline, it repurposes an empty building with minimal waste, and provides new skilled jobs and income through tourism. People will be talking about this for years to come and we are proud to have been involved in such an iconic project.”
Angus E MacMillan, MacMillan Spirits Company, adds, “The building design and in particular the lighthouse feature was intended to reflect the nautical heritage of the islands which we also intend to capture in the spirits produced in our distillery. The illuminated still within the lighthouse will be a beacon for people crossing the causeway towards Benbecula. The visitor centre will be more than just a tour of the distillery and will include a storytelling nook among other items of local interest.”
Local contractor MacInnes Bros Ltd were awarded the contract for the build phase and the distillery equipment was supplied from within the Highlands and Islands.
Benbecula Distillery aims to produce 500,000 bottles of whisky per year and it is estimated that this will create an initial 10-12 local jobs. It adds to the flourishing drinks market in the Hebrides.