Spirits are high at the first whisky distillery to open in the Borders for 180 years now it has clinched a national award just months after going into production.
The Borders Distillery in Hawick has been given a five-star visitor attraction award by VisitScotland after its first grading visit.
The £10m development, in Commercial Road on the site of the old Hawick Electric Company’s base, was opened by the Three Stills Company in May, creating up to 20 jobs.
Visitors can enjoy a tour to find out more about the renovation and the workings of the distillery.
Although Scotch whisky needs a legal minimum of three years to mature, the distillery has been producing William Kerr’s Borders Gin, made from scratch using the distillery’s new-make malt spirit, in the meantime.
It is named after William Kerr, a Hawick-born botanist alive from 1779 to 1814.
VisitScotland’s five-star quality assurance award is given out to businesses in recognition of what are judged to be exceptional levels of customer experience.
Distillery founder John Fordyce said: “We are delighted to receive a five-star accreditation from VisitScotland.
“From our architects to our contractors to our excellent distillery team, the focus has been on creating something which delights those who come to visit us.
“The Borders Distillery is the first Scotch whisky distillery to operate in the Borders since 1837, and we look forward to welcoming visitors for many years to come.”
Paula Ward, regional leadership director for VisitScotland, said: “Congratulations to the team at Borders Distillery for this fantastic achievement just months after they opened.
“It is great to see their hard work and commitment to providing a quality customer experience being recognised with this prestigious award.
“The Borders Distillery is a truly spectacular building that celebrates the building’s history and offers a fantastic insight into how whisky and gin is produced.
“Our quality assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine.
“The scheme is about more than just the stars on the door – it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business, driving up quality and creating jobs.
“Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial in making Scotland a must-visit-must-return destination.”
Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts also congratulated the business on its achievements so far, saying: “The Borders Distillery is a fantastic example of how the Scotch whisky industry brings jobs and investment to the rural economy.
“It is a story that is being replicated across Scotland, with more than a dozen new distilleries opening over the last five years.”