With the current boom in new Scotch whisky distilleries in full pace, we asked their Business Development Manager Daniel Smith how things were progressing at Wolfburn Distillery.
- Wolfburn Stillhouse
Tell us a little about your distillery?
The idea for the revived Wolfburn Distillery came from one of our investors, as a sort of hybrid between building a sustainable business and producing something that people could genuinely enjoy and rally behind – ie truly excellent single malt whisky. That was back in early 2011 and obviously it took time to turn the idea into reality – the distillery was constructed during autumn 2012 and we made our first spirit in January 2013.
How the early period has been?
Did we have any difficulties? A few, but nothing that wasn’t surmountable. Wolfburn is in the enviable position of being properly capitalised – we’re not reliant on crowd funding, for example, or needing to sell white spirits (gin, vodka) to fund production. We set out purely to make single malt whisky from the start, with no distractions. Our ethos is to use the very best ingredients to produce the best possible spirit, then to mature it in the best possible casks. To quote Shane Fraser (Wolfburn distillery manager and master distiller), “If you put good spirit into good wood, you won’t go far wrong.” It sounds very simplistic and of course there’s a ton of work that lies behind such a statement, but the early results have been brilliant: four gold medals from four consecutive international competitions.
- Wolfburn Spirit Safe
Is your vision for the future unchanged?
Our vision for the future is largely the same as it was at the outset, which is to create a truly global brand. Wolfburn is exported to 25 countries already, but obviously our market penetration is tiny – in the world of whisky we are very, very new. It will take time to grow brand awareness – but we knew that from the outset. We currently have three permanent expressions, the sales of which are augmented by by limited releases, which are a lot of fun to make and help generate interest in the brand.
What you are looking forward to?
Ultimately we will have a range of age-statement whiskies (10 year old, 12 year old, etc), but of course that’s fairly far into the future, so for the time being we’re growing sales of our non-age-statement releases. This is going well – our sales in 2016 and 2017 are in line with forecast (slightly ahead in fact), and we are continuing to lay down more spirit for the long term. So far so very good!
Wolfburn Distillery, Henderson Park, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland KW14 7XW