New distillery stays local as building work continues

Eleven apprentices have had the chance to learn their trade on the construction site for The Cairn Distillery near Grantown-on-Spey.

Gordon & MacPhail, the Elgin based family firm behind the new distillery, committed to employing as many local firms as possible during construction.

With more than 90% of work going to local companies, this approach has helped to create a number of opportunities for local apprentices.

Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of Gordon & MacPhail, said: ‘We have a strong commitment to our local communities. We wanted to ensure the building of The Cairn helped boost the local economy and we’re really pleased this has involved supporting young people to pursue apprenticeships.’

The main contractor, Morrison Construction, has employed four joinery apprentices during the construction period, including one who completed their apprenticeship in November.

EJ Parker Technical Services had three electrical apprentices on site working on the electrical installation and plumbing, heating, and ventilation.

A further two apprentice stone masons have been employed by AB Masonry at The Cairn. A mechanical engineer apprentice and an electrical apprentice were also employed by Forsyths, who manufactured the distilling equipment at their workshops in Rothes and Elgin before installing it on site.

The Cairn Distillery is due to open to visitors in the summer of 2022 and will offer a range of immersive visitor experiences, whisky tastings and a bistro with a menu shaped by ingredients from the local area.

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

Gordon & MacPhail’s ongoing commitment to local business was demonstrated last year with the news that 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.

Work commenced in July 2020 on The Cairn, overlooking the River Spey towards the Cairngorms. The new site will add further distillation capacity and brand ownership to the company’s asset base and is a key part of the plans to continue building a long-term sustainable business. A high-quality visitor experience offering tours and tastings will also attract visitors from around the world.