Online film reveals progress being made on £13m Hawick whisky distillery

The new Borders Distillery in Hawick.
The new Borders Distillery in Hawick.

Distilling of whisky is to begin at the new £10m Borders Distillery in Hawick later this month.

And the first whisky to be produced by the Three Stills Company at its plant in Commercial Road will be Clan Fraser, a blended spirit named after the famous 12th century Scottish clan.

The council was given planning approval last summer to convert the disused industrial site in Hawick into a Scotch whisky distillery and a visitors’ centre due to open early next year.

Founded by former William Grant executives John Fordyce, Tim Carton, Tony Roberts and George Tait, the new distillery is set to be the region’s first since 1837.

The distillery, currently being built on the former site of the Turnbull and Scott engineering plant by Kelso firm M and J Ballantyne, will also house offices, a boilerhouse and café.

Now the company has issued a promotional video, available to view at vimeo.com/227448413, outlining the progress made so far on the £13m project and the history of the site, as well as an insight into the process of malting, mashing, fermenting and distilling of the finished product.

In the video, produced by Stuart Cameron, company director Mr Fordyce presents a filmed tour and outlines the attempts made to retain as many of the best features of the original 19th century Hawick Electricity Company, the original business on the site, as possible.

He says: “We will be taking our cooling water and our processed water from the River Teviot straight into the distillery on the other side of the road.

“There is a crane on site which dates back to the 1930s which we are retaining for historical interest and, where possible, we are preserving the original trusses, the original roof, so that the history of the building will always be part of its future.

“At the end of the process, we will have liquid called wort which is about seven to eight degrees alcohol.”

Company commercial director Tony Roberts said: “The building of the distillery is the backbone to our project.

“This will be the first single-malt whisky distillery in the Borders for 180 years.

“Back in the day, most of the single-malt distilleries in Scotland were actually located in the Borders, then the English created excise and sent the nasty excise men on horseback to collect duties from all the distilleries, and one by one, the Scots closed the distilleries and moved them to the more remote Highlands and islands.

“The last distillery closed in 1837, and we are bringing back distilling to the Borders after 180 years.”

In the firm’s original planning application, Mr Fordyce said: “Hawick is an ideal location for the Borders Distillery.

“The characteristics that made Hawick suitable for the woollen industry in the 19th century, such as good water supply from the River Teviot, surrounding agricultural land and good transport links are also essential for a distillery.”

The project is just one of a number of distilleries set to open in the Borders over the next few years.

Mossburn Distillers submitted a planning application to develop a £40m whisky distillery near Jedburgh in 2014 and was given the go-ahead in February, and R&B Distillers has identified Peebles as the preferred spot for its venture.