It’s been a long time coming but work has finally begun to build Raasay’s distillery. R&B Distillers are finally moving on site at Borodale House, formerly the Isle of Raasay Hotel.
Earlier this year the company received planning permission for the project which will see the Victorian-era former hotel building converted into a visitor centre for the Isle of Raasay Distillery. The extension to the hotel built in 1980 is being removed to be replaced by the distillery.
Designed by Olli Blair from ABIR Architects and Allen Associates, the company expect the new facility to bring a big boost to the island with as many as 12 jobs on offer. This amounts to ten per cent of the current 120 population. In addition the distillery and visitor centre are seen as certain to boost numbers sailing over to Raasay.
The distillery on Raasay will be furnished with two copper pot stills from Frilli in Tuscany, and will make use of a local water supply filtered through volcanic rock, on an island boasting some of Scotland’s most unique geology.
Environmental concerns have caused some difficulty for the distillers in their preparations to build especially after it was discovered that Borodale House has the UK’s most North-Westerly population of Brown Long Eared bats nesting in the roof. The company have now accommodated the colony in a new ‘Bat Hotel’, The Belfry, in the roof and bat boxes up in the trees to protect them both during, and after, the build.
R&B Distillers co-founder Alasdair Day said: “it has taken an enormous amount of effort and endeavour to get to this point and we are all aware of what we still have to achieve, however we are delighted that work has commenced on site.
“We are all full of excitement and anticipation for the future as we aim to be Scotland’s leading craft distiller”.
Borodale House was a hotel for many years, and latterly was used as the base for Raasay House Activities while its building was restored. It has been unused since 2013.