Craft distilleries call for clarity on covid support

EIGHT of Scotland’s craft distillers have written to the Scottish Government seeking clarity on whether they qualify for support during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group of spirit producers said that some of its members have been turned down by their local councils for the 12 month business rate holiday promised by Scottish ministers, while others are still waiting to hear back from their local authorities.

Together, the distilleries welcomed more than 200,000 visitors last year and employ around 110 visitor centre staff, many in remote and rural communities.

Their letter said: “We recognise and appreciate the support of the Scottish and UK governments with various programmes that have been put in place to address the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, not least of which is support for our valuable employees.

“Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic we have been required to close our visitor centres, including cafes and retail shops.

“We are all small businesses: modest, independent craft distilleries that all rely heavily on a business model that welcomes tourists, weddings and other events to earn revenue.

“In doing so, we provide a typically warm Scottish welcome to tourists from across the world, are key contributors to a growing and valuable whisky tourism sector and, in many cases, act as local anchors for other businesses and services around us that also rely on visitors.”

The letter was signed by Ardnahoe, Ardnamurchan, Holyrood, Isle of Harris, Isle of Raasay, Kingsbarns, Lindores Abbey, and Nc’Nean distilleries.