Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Britain's most northerly...

(from the Nippy Sweeties blog)

Northernmost. I love that word. And, fortunately, so do the news editors of publications throughout the world. At least, they used to.

Back in the 1980s, in my brief career running Shetland's news agency, I would flog all kinds of 'northernmost' stories: The UK's most name it. Postman, postwoman, traffic warden, school, fire station...all worth money in lineage to a desperate hack.

The tale of the UK's most northerly distillery has been developing for years, with Blackwood Distillers developing a hugely successful range of spirit-based drinks using the appellation 'Shetland', based on the central notion of building a distillery in Shetland.

The company, led by the formidable Caroline Whitfield, owns property and has an office in Catfirth, on Shetland's east Mainland. Initial plans to build a distillery there were put on hold when an employment crisis in the most northerly Shetland island, Unst, caused by the closure of RAF Saxa Vord, led local development bosses to approach Blackwood with the idea of moving the operation even further north.

Since then, I understand that Blackwood have been very keen to forge ahead, but the new owners of the RAF property planned for conversion, Military Asset Management, have moved somewhat more slowly than local people and development agencies expected or wished. However, the former RAF motor transport depot should be transferred to Blackwood next month, according to The Shetland Times.

There is whisky in Unst already, distilled for Blackwood by Inver House and maturing in oak casks at various secret locations. There soon will be a lot more, if Caroline has her way. The plan is to set up a bonded warehouse, and then develop the distillery, along with other interested parties who are planning a three star hotel, a hostel, holiday cottages and the relocation of the local Valhalla Brewery.

It'll be the northernmost retail, industrial and leisure park in the UK! I think there might be a story in that...

1 comment:

hempstar said...

we have an interview with blackwood: