Ewen Mackintosh with the mash tun
Ewen Mackintosh with the mash tun

Equipment arrives as new whisky distillery proceceds

The building of The Cairn Distillery has taken a leap forward with the arrival of the distilling equipment.

The mash tun, washbacks and stills, all manufactured by Forsyths, were transported from their facilities in Elgin, Rothes and Buckie, before being craned into position at the site in Craggan.

The two Moray based family-owned firms have worked together to create the equipment for the £20 million distillery on the banks of the River Spey near Grantown.

Managing director Ewen Mackintosh was at the site when the equipment, including the five-tonne mash tun, was delivered.

He said: ‘This is a very large piece of equipment which plays a crucial role in a distillery. Seeing it arrive on site and put in place felt like a real landmark in the creation of The Cairn.

Ewen Mackintosh with the mash tun

‘It’s been a particular pleasure to work with another family-owned business which, like Gordon & MacPhail, has a long history in Moray. We have used our combined expertise in whisky to ensure that all aspects of equipment, including the size and shape of the stills, have been considered to produce The Cairn spirit.’

Forsyths managing director Richard Forsyth added: ‘There’s been many months of planning, design, engineering and fabrication to get to this point, so it’s very rewarding to finally see the main equipment arriving on site and witness the vision becoming a reality.

‘We are hugely honoured that fellow family-owned business Gordon & MacPhail have trusted us to deliver their prestigious project. We look forward to repaying that faith with a first class distillery.’

Plans for the distillery, on the banks of the River Spey, were first unveiled in 2018. Planning permission was granted in 2019 and work started on site in July last year, once Covid restrictions were eased.

This will be the second distillery for Scotch malt whisky experts Gordon & MacPhail who bought and renovated Benromach distillery at Forres in the 1990s.

Ewen Mackintosh added: ‘Building a second distillery is a key element in our strategy for growth and allows us to extend our brand ownership and control our supply to a much greater extent.’

The mash tun being lowered into The Cairn

The company has been delighted by the warm welcome they have received from the local community, who have been very supportive during the construction phase.

Gordon & MacPhail has been determined to retain the same strong local relationships it has in Forres and Elgin. Its ongoing commitment to local business was demonstrated recently with the news more than 90% of the £20m investment in The Cairn distillery near Grantown on Spey had been awarded to firms in the North of Scotland.

The Cairn name was unveiled at the end of last year and reflects the distillery’s stunning location overlooking the Cairngorm mountains, at the gateway to Speyside.

Scheduled to open in spring 2022, The Cairn Distillery will include a visitor experience, tasting rooms, retail space and bistro.