Plans for the first new malt distillery in the Cairngorms National Park since its creation in 2003 have been revealed.
The new distillery at Craggan, near Grantown-on-Spey, is a multi-million pound investment by Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd, and is expected to become a major tourist attraction and significant local employer.
Speymalt is the parent company of Gordon & MacPhail, the family owned whisky specialist, wholesaler and retailer. The company also owns and operates Benromach Distillery in Forres.
As part of a strategic growth plan, Speymalt hopes to build the new distillery overlooking the Cairngorm mountains in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.
Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd, said: Building a second distillery is an important part of our business plan and we have spent some time researching a suitable site.
We believe we have found the perfect place for our new distillery at Craggan. Its a stunning location with strong transport links and can accommodate the distillery, warehousing and a visitor experience.
The Cairngorms are a beautiful part of the world and we aim to design a distillery which will be in keeping with this wonderful landscape.
We continue to build our business using our expertise and skill in the industry. The purchase of Benromach Distillery and the growth of this brand internationally over the past twenty years has proved to be a huge success. Constructing a second distillery will enable us to continue creating a sustainable long term legacy for future generations.
No decision has been made on a name for the distillery.
The company now hopes to start the consultation process with the local community before submitting a planning application later in the year. If planning is approved, building is expected to start in 2019 and should take 12 months to complete.
A public exhibition of the plans will take place over the summer.
Speymalt is a fourth-generation family owned business which has built its knowledge and experience of the Scotch whisky industry over a 120-year history.
The Urquhart family realised a long held ambition when they acquired Benromach Distillery in 1993. They reopened it after extensive refurbishment in 1998 and are celebrating the 20th anniversary this year.
A member of the world famous Malt Whisky Trail, Benromach Distillery attracts over 13,000 visitors to the area every year. Work recently started on creating a gin distillery and visitor experience at the Benromach site.