Castletown Mill to be refurbished by Dunnet Bay Distillers

Dunnet Bay Distillers has been granted Planning Permission to refurbish the 200-year-old Mill and surrounding land at Castletown, near the distillery’s headquarters.

The Caithness-based company which owns the multi-award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, acquired the historic Mill in 2021. The restoration and fit-out of the refurbished building could cost up to £4million.

The plans involve a full refurbishment of the dilapidated, listed Mill building, with a view to creating further resources for the rapidly expanding business including a visitor centre and a whisky distillery.

Dunnet Bay Distillers products sell globally, enjoying strong sales throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK as well as being distributed in 24 countries across the world.

The eco-friendly spirits company was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife team, Claire Murray and Martin Murray.

Claire Murray, co-founder and co-director of Dunnet Bay Distillers, said: “We are delighted that we now have planning permission to convert the old Mill and thank Highland Council for its decision.  We have been working hard with our plans and are looking forward to sharing them in the coming months.  The warehouse building has already commenced work and we hope to open a temporary café and small visitor area soon.”

Earlier this year, the company was granted permission to develop a temporary visitor centre, café, and shop near the site of the Old Mill.

Martin Murray, co-founder and co-director of Dunnet Bay Distillers, added: “We’re excited at the prospect of regenerating this fine old building which has lain empty for many years.   The Mill will become a Caithness landmark once again and its development will transform our already successful business.”

The company earlier this year asked anyone with connections to the Mill to get in touch to tell their personal stories about the building.  The company intends to embed the story of its history into the fabric of the building as they create a new destination on the north coast of Scotland. “We aim to make it into a local destination distillery and so the history is something we wish to remember,” said Martin Murray.

Andrea Wise, director of Organic Architects, said: “This is a rare opportunity for a thriving local business to regenerate this landmark building which has been unable to find a user for decades. The distillery will be powered by green electricity, making it one of the most sustainable distilleries in the UK industry.” The designs will be contemporary whilst respecting the fabric and style of the old building.

The company has not yet announced when work will commence.