Whisky Focus - Scotland's Most Northerly Mainland Distillery Named '8 Doors'

Scotland's Most Northerly Mainland Distillery Named '8 Doors'

6th October 2020
Scotland's most northerly mainland distillery which will be named '8 Doors Distillery' is offering whisky enthusiasts the chance to buy casks and purchase bottles from some of the first casks they will lay down.

8 Doors Distillery husband and wife team Derek and Kerry Campbell

You may recall back in March last year I announced that husband and wife team Derek and Kerry Campbell had secured planning permission for a new micro distillery in John O’Groats which when established would be Scotland's northernmost mainland distillery.

Today they unveiled the name of the new micro-distillery, "8 Doors Distillery", and the inspiration for the 8 Doors Distillery name comes from the story of Jan de Groot, from whom the village of John O’Groats takes its name. Mr de Groot, a Dutchman who once plied a ferry from the Scottish mainland to Orkney, built his legendary house in the area during the reign of James IV (1488-1513). Mr de Groot’s seven descendants quarrelled about succession, so he decided to build an octagonal house with eight doors - one for him and each of his seven sons - and an eight-sided table so that nobody could sit at the ‘head of the table’.

The £1 million project will establish the first whisky producer in the Caithness village since 1837 distillery and on the 32,670 square feet site will have the capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of whisky each year. Set to open in 2021, the distillery and visitor centre will be housed in one large building and whisky will be matured in an on-site bonded warehouse.

The founders are taking advice from Ian Evans of whisky consultancy Distilled Experience who is a former Operations and Compliance Director with William Grant & Sons.

As well as naming the new distillery today they also announced a launch offer for whisky enthusiasts to buy into Scotland's most northerly mainland Scotch distillery with their 874 Founders Club and the 874 Club.

  • 874 Founders Club - the top tier of membership, limited to 250 members. Founder members will get their hands on some truly unique casks of Highland Single Malt Whisky. There are 250 cask packages available from £1,600.
  • 874 Club - the core membership limited to 1,250 members. 874 Club members will get three 70cl bottles of exceptional Highland Single Malt Whisky. Matured in first-fill, tailor made casks from Spain, the three different expressions are derived from seasoning and oak types chosen by John Ramsay. These bottle packages are £420.

8 Doors Distillery is collaborating with renowned whisky master John Ramsay to create its exclusive launch products. John brings with him over 40 years’ experience in the whisky industry, having being involved in the making of some of Scotland’s most well-known whiskies including The Famous Grouse, The Glenrothes and The Macallan.

Kerry and Derek see their limited edition launch as the first step in an incredible journey to realise their distillery dream. They have named the 874 Club after one of the greatest journeys in the UK - the 874 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats.

The 874 Founders Club offers the exclusive opportunity to become a member and buy one of a limited number of 50 litre and 250 litre Founders Casks. The 874 Founders Club cask packages will be available for sale exclusively through Whisky Hammer for an initial period of one month until 5 November.

Those who join the 874 Club will receive a collection of three bottles from some of the first casks laid down and can purchase these packages directly from 8 Doors Distillery.

Both packages come with a host of benefits including a members’ card entitling the individual and a friend to free tours for life. Founders Club members will also be permanently recognised with their name on the Founders Display within the distillery.

Kerry Campbell, co-founder of 8 Doors Distillery, said: "The creation of our 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats and our limited edition launch is part of a dream come true for Derek and me. We have a long-held passion for whisky and for the local area in Caithness where we both grew up. We’re so pleased to be able to bring them together with the development of our distillery and visitor centre.

"We love whisky, and for us it’s more than just having an exceptional liquid in the glass. It’s the stories that go alongside it, the memories of special occasions and get-togethers with family and friends. If we can be part of creating not only a fantastic whisky but also great memories for people who drink our whisky that would be amazing.

"We couldn’t think of anywhere better than John O’Groats to make whisky, partly thanks to the climate which we believe is perfect for distilling and maturation, and the great people who live here. Since we’ve announced our plans to the build the distillery we’ve had lots of local support. And we’re delighted to be working with such industry experts as John Ramsay and Ian Evans for our launch products.

"We believe our limited edition offer provides an unmissable opportunity for whisky lovers across the world to join our 874 Club and be part of the creation of a new Scotch legacy. It truly is whisky from the edge."

"And we’re pleased to be working with another independent Scottish family-run business, Whisky Hammer, as part of our launch campaign. We’ve had direct experience of their premium service and passion for the whisky that passes through their doors so we can't think of a better partner to launch our founders casks with."

John Ramsay said: "It has been wonderful to collaborate with Kerry and Derek at 8 Doors Distillery to help them realise their dream of a whisky that reflects the unique environment of John O’Groats. Having worked in the industry for many years, it’s great to be involved in producing the first whisky from Scotland’s most northerly mainland distillery.

"8 Doors Distillery is particularly exciting for me as it’s the first Scotch whisky project I’ve been involved with since I retired in 2009 after 43 years in the industry. When I met Kerry and Derek and found out more about their desire to create a distillery in John O’Groats I wanted to get on board.

"One of the things that really appeals to me is their commitment to producing a whisky that involves maturation as much as distillation. They realise the importance of high-quality casks.

"We are developing a flavour profile that brings to life the local climate and the influence of the sea. Once the spirit has been matured on-site in carefully selected first-fill casks from Spain designed to our specifications, I believe we will be bringing something original to the world of whisky from this remote part of Caithness.

Daniel Milne, co-founder of Whisky Hammer, said: "We’re excited to team up with Kerry and Derek at 8 Doors Distillery, and expect demand to be high for their exclusive 874 Founders Club cask packages. It’s great to see people with such a passion for Scotch bringing something new to the world of whisky. We would urge anyone interested in being part of this legacy to visit our site as soon as they can."

Highlands and Islands Enterprise is investing up to £198,000 in the new venture. Keith Muir, the agency’s head of business growth in Caithness and Sutherland, said: "This is a fantastic development, and it is great to see a project coming forward even in these difficult times that will be of real benefit to the tourism sector and to the local community.

"We are delighted to be able to help this local young couple fulfil their dreams of creating a new distillery in John O’ Groats. We look forward to the launch of 8 Doors Whisky and wish Kerry and Derek every success."

8 Doors 874 Club Whisky which will be matured in first-fill, tailor made casks from Spain, the three different expressions will be derived from seasoning and oak types chosen by John Ramsay.

Another Scotch whisky distillery is always welcome although asking whisky enthusiasts to purchase three bottles of unknown whisky for £420 which going by the imagery they have sent me will be bottled at 5, 6 and 7 year old respectively is a very big ask. I think that the cask sales will be more popular and an easier sell. I wish them the best and hopefully I will be reviewing a new 8 Doors Highland single malt whisky in the years to come.

Anyone interested in buying exclusive 8 Doors Distillery casks (available from midday today, 6 October) or bottles (available from this morning of 6 October) to should visit: https://www.8doorsdistillery.com/874-club-memberships

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