Master distiller to join Isle of Barra Distillery team

Master distiller to join Isle of Barra Distillery team

The Distillery and visitor centre artists impression

Barra Distillery has appointed expert master distiller and blender Ian McMillan to its team for the development of the new distillery in the Outer Hebrides.

Barra Distillery is set up as a community benefit society to enable local residents and people with an interest in whisky all over the world to invest through community shares.  The project is therefore owned and run by the community for the community. The lowest investment is £250 for locals and £750 each investor member outside the areas.  Each has one vote no matter how big or small their investment. Future profits will be re-invested into the local community through a trust called The Angels Share.

Ian brings a wealth of experience to the team – having spent all his working life in the whisky distilling industry.  Most recently he was responsible for developing and refurbishing Bladnoch in Dumfries and Galloway, after a 6 year closure.

For 25 years Ian was head of distilleries and master blender at Burn Stewart working in the distilleries for their brands Deanston in Perthshire, Tobermory on Mull and, Bunnahabhain on Islay.


Peter Brown, the local businessman behind the venture says Barra whisky distillery will be one of the smallest in Scotland but environmentally friendly using water from the local reservoir, barley grown in the Outer Hebrides, and driven by renewable energy. He said: ”we are delighted to welcome Ian McMillan to our development team. His extensive experience of whisky distilling will be invaluable to us as we develop our plans and build the new facility here in Barra later this year.”

Community Shares Scotland, an organisation which supports community enterprises has been advising Brown on the community share offer. James Proctor, programme manager of Community Shares Scotland, said: “Community shares are a democratic form of governance, offering one vote per member investing, no matter how much you invest. They can also offer 4% interest to attract investors, and often see money rolled back into other projects which will benefit the community.”

“This is the second Scottish distillery we have advised on the elements of raising essential funding through a community shares scheme. GlenWyvis Distillery in Dingwall raised more than £2.5m in 2016, from 2,441 supporters in 30 countries around the world.”

It might take a few more years until the Barra distillery’s first product is ready for bottling, but already the firm has generated £45,000 from its first cask offers, which closed in January 2013.

Trustees are being sought for The Angels’ Share, which will take responsibility for apportioning the community benefit fund generated from the distillery. Anybody interested in becoming a trustee should email for more information.

A crowdfunding page has been set up where interested parties can learn more about the community share offer and purchase shares. It can be found

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