Winter Growth

As we sit on the cusp of meteorological winter, much of our natural world retreats into a period of quiet hibernation. 

But for us, the arrival of December brings with it exciting new growth as we embark on two months of change here at the Isle of Harris Distillery. Over the darkest of the winter months, our bright copper stills will lie silent as spirit-making stops to allow us to expand the potential of our whisky production.

Thanks to the success of the Isle of Harris Gin, we’ve been able to further finance our future plans and invest in three brand new ‘washbacks’ to add to our original five. Made from sturdy Oregon Pine, each of these voluminous wooden tubs holds 6,000 litres of the sweet liquid known as wort

Within the beautiful big vats, this beer-like mixture produced from the mash of malted barley and warm water, is provided with yeast and allowed to ferment. It’s a crucial step in our whisky-making, as natural sugars are converted to alcohol in preparation for the first distillation into spirit.


Installing these giant washbacks is a big undertaking for us, with many meters of pipes and equipment needing to be removed and relocated. So, for the next two months the Spirit Hall will be a hive of activity as engineers and experts set about the technical tasks required to make room for the three new pieces of equipment.

But, the end result will be an impressive increase in our ability to make whisky for our forthcoming single malt, the historic dram to be known as “The Hearach”. We’ll eventually enjoy a 60% rise in production, creating additional spirit for committing to casks, and resulting in more of our work here in the Outer Hebrides being shared with the world.

And that’s a very good thing, we’re sure you’ll agree! Meantime, our distillers will be busy with a myriad of other tasks, from bottling and warehousing to turning their Harris hands to any work this winter expansion may require.


And for those of you worried about their Isle of Harris Gin supplies, never fear. We’ve been busy making extra batches and stockpiling our bottles to ensure our customers don’t run dry over Christmas and into the New Year.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting our enterprise so far. A successful distillery means more local jobs, which in turn helps address the issues surrounding population decline so central to our long-term ambitions.

It may not always seem obvious, but every time you enjoy a drink from our distillery, you’re making a real difference. 


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