Bid to create visitor centre at Dunnet Bay Distillers

Caithness-based Dunnet Bay Distillers has requested permission to create a temporary visitor centre and community building and café in the grounds of the ancient Castletown Mill building.

The company, producer of the multi-award-winning Rock Rose Gin brand, acquired the 200-year-old Mill with a view to restoring it to former glory and protecting its heritage status.

The site is close to the existing Dunnet Bay Distillers headquarters, a family-owned company run by Claire Murray and Martin Murray on the north coast of Scotland.

In order to help fund the redevelopment of this landmark building, the company hopes to help pay for the project with a sustainable temporary structure bringing new jobs to the area and paving the way for this becoming a visitor destination.

The sustainable temporary building will be a fine example of the kind of eco-friendly reuse and recycling for which Dunnet Bay Distillers is so widely admired.

It will be created from three used shipping containers.

Founders of Dunnent Bay Distillers, makers of Rock Rose Gin, Claire and Martin Murray

As well as providing a café there will be a shop and community hub where people can attend events to learn more about the history and the future of the site. Despite being built from shipping containers, the design will be fresh, attractive, and contemporary, situated in a small corner of the site which forms part of the Mill grounds.

Martin Murray said: ‘We’re excited. A temporary building means just that: it will be there whilst we are creating our new home for whisky, vodka and gin production. It’s good news for the local community as it will create new jobs.

‘We are already an important and valued employer in this small coastal community and we are energised by the idea of helping Thurso become an even more popular destination. We therefore expect this initiative to help other local businesses too.’

If planning permission is granted, and once refurbished, the old Castletown Mill will take over from the temporary shipping container centre giving way to a long-term brand home and distillery for Rock Rose Gin, Holy Grass Vodka and a new Scotch whisky.