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  • AutorenbildErnie - Ernst Scheiner

Uile-Bheist. Making Whisky

Aktualisiert: 27. Jan.




HISTORIC FIRST CASKS AND BOTTLES

FOR NEW INVERNESS DISTILLERY


-new make spirit

will become first Inverness malt whisky in 40 years-


Press Release July 13th, 2023


"Uile-bheist Distillery has filled its maiden casks, with the new make spirit set to become the first single malt whisky to be distilled in Inverness for 40 years.

Head Distiller Andrew ‘Drew’ Shearer performed the historic first cask filling, with the distilled spirit now being laid down for maturation in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon oak casks for a minimum of three years before officially becoming Scotch Whisky.



In a milestone week, Uile-bheist also filled the first batch of 500 (500ml) bottles of the new make spirit which has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 63.5%.



The new make will go on sale to visitors to the new £7.5m distillery, brewery and visitor attraction which is situated on the banks of the River Ness; powered by water from the famous river.

Inverness was formerly host to several large distilleries but the last of those, Millburn, closed its doors in 1985. With its closure went the last drops of the ‘water of life’ to flow from the city.

Now the public can finally get an insight into what the signature Uile-bheist Single Malt will be like when fully aged, with casks also being made available to purchase for collectors of rarities.


Around 60 casks of the historic product are available, ranging in price from £6000 for a 200L ex-bourbon cask to £7500 for a 250L ex-sherry Hogshead of Uile-bheist single malt.

While the international investors and collectors market remains buoyant, interestingly, most buyers so far have come from Inverness and the highlands.


Co-Owner Jon Erasmus feels this reflects a sense of community ownership in the project and an eagerness to be part of the story of how distilling has returned to the highland capital.


“This week marks the end of the beginning for us: the casking and bottling of our first product.
We’ve been through the process. Now we want to build on our production and capacity.
“Ultimately, we are a family business supporting this concept for the very long term.
This is a small, niche whisky in the highlands with lots of provenance. It is very limited edition.
If you buy it, you will literally be one of dozens, not thousands.”


The Uile-bheist story contains unique elements which the team believe will be mirrored in the product.


Water for energy and production is sourced through shallow water wells from the River Ness, making the on-site process low carbon and energy efficient.


Water is treated by UV light and technology from innovative German coppersmiths, Kaspar Schulz, enables the recovery of heat throughout distillation.


Malted barley is sourced from Bairds Malt, less than 2 miles away, curbing transport emissions.

Additionally, the yeast used is brewers’ yeast rather than distillers’ yeast, reflecting that

Uile-bheist is a brewery and distillery.


“Because we are using a brewers’ yeast, our own water supply, a very long fermentation time (minimum 4 days,
often much longer) and have a lot of temperature control in our fermentations,
we are getting a much higher ester content in our whisky,
a lot more fruity notes and a much more unique product,”

said Head Distiller, Drew Shearer.


“Through fermentation, we get a very fruity distillate.
We are then distilling it twice using very traditional style copper pot stills but using brand new technology to monitor the process precisely.
“It’s a very light spirit, very fruit forward and a bit nutty in the background. It’s a bit more on the Speyside side, rather than being typical of a highland malt.”
Uile-bheist intends to release a ‘very bespoke’ bottling of its Single Highland malt at 3 years old whilst laying down the remainder for ‘the long haul’.



Press Release Ends



DISTILLERY'S ROLE HAILED IN INVERNESS REJUVENATION


Press Release October 2023


"- 3000 visitors recorded in August-


The role of Uile-bheist Distillery and Brewery in the wider rejuvenation of Inverness has been hailed, with over 3000 visitors heading through the doors in August.

Despite the new £7.5m facility opening for production of Highland whisky and craft beer in February, the visitor experience on the River Ness only formally opened for visitors in June.

Now it has celebrated its 4-Star grading from VisitScotland with initial visitor figures showing it is on target to welcome 50 000 visitors per year in Phase 1, prior to planned further development.

The early success has been hailed by new CEO of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), Michael Golding, who believes the project can help propel the transformation of the highland capital as a must-stay destination.



Inverness has earned a reputation as a short-break or ‘dormitory’ city, with tourists often day-tripping before visiting landmarks such as Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and the wider highlands.

However, £20m UK Government Levelling Up projects such as the redeveloped Northern Meeting Park allied with the opening of Inverness Castle Experience in Spring 2025, are set to change that.


And the establishment of the city’s first distillery in 130 years has a pivotal role to play in the highland capital’s transformation, according to the tourism chief.


“Part of the challenge in Inverness is we have a healthy stock of accommodation but we probably don’t have enough year-round, non-weather reliant attractions to encourage people to stay longer and extend the seasonality. Thankfully, that is changing.

“We used to have an under-utilised riverside. Now we have the new renewable energy centre further down the river. You’ve got the Highland Food and Drink Trail, underneath the Cathedral, which is massively increasing footfall.

“You have the Levelling Up projects and then the coming of the Castle in 2025, which will be an amazing visitor attraction.
So, walking the riverside in 2025 is going to look a lot different than it did just a few years ago and Uile-bheist is perfectly positioned, both geographically and in terms of a unique experience, to be a major part of that change. It is a very exciting project.”

Despite being new to the Visitor Attraction scene, Uile-bheist owners Victoria and Jon Erasmus have been encouraged by the first recorded months of footfall at the distillery, brewery and tap room.


The project, powered by the waters of the River Ness, has supported 15-20 local jobs so far and detail changes are currently being made to bring the attraction up to 5-Star rating by Christmas.

A planned Phase 2 of the project, which will increase retail and tour space and integrate an on-site restaurant, is projected to double the visitors to 100 000 per year, when running.


“We have opened at a challenging time and effectively in mid-season but we believe in the product we have delivered,”

said Victoria Erasmus.


“We are the first ticketed type visitor experience in Inverness but we hope to see, in a few years, Inverness becoming a cultural hub.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the wider area but, with what’s happening, they could also be staying longer in Inverness.
With things like the Academy Street redevelopment, open top city bus tours and the Castle, we are beginning to see the emergence of a city economy and we are really proud to be a part of that.”



Michael Golding und Victoria Erasmus. Photo Courtesy Uile-bheist Distillery 2023


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