Tech tycoon Dobbie backs new distillery plan
An IT entrepreneur intends to open a distillery in an area once considered the capital of the industry.
R&B Distillers has purchased Dhurrie Farm on the Kintyre peninsula and will spend £10 million to £15 million building the Machrihanish Distillery in 2023. It will be the first in the Campbeltown area for 140 years.
In the 19th century the area was home to about 30 distilleries but many closed in the 1920s and only three, Glengyle, Glen Scotia and Springbank, are still operating.
R&B Distillers, co-founded by Bill Dobbie, already operates the Isle of Raasay distillery on the Inner Hebridean island of the same name.
It hopes to receive planning permission for the Machrihanish distillery near Campbeltown this year and start building next year.
It wants to grow its own barley on the farm and use a “net zero” distillation process to reduce its environmental impact. It plans to start producing 400,000 litres a year.
R&B , which was founded in 2015, is also progressing plans for a micro grain distillery in Coldstream. Together with South of Scotland Enterprise and Borders Council, it is exploring several options for the site of a new distillery that should be confirmed shortly.
It has also revealed a new executive team led by Mr Dobbie as executive chairman. Alasdair Day, co-founder, is master distiller, Norman Gillies becomes operations director, Mr Dobbie’s son William is appointed commercial director, and Stuart Blues is finance director. The company has a payroll of 25 across Raasay, Edinburgh and London.
Mr Dobbie co-founded Glasgow cloud computing firm Iomart and later established dating technology business Cupid.