The beer and whisky brewers and distillers of the North Highlands of Scotland
Cromarty Brewing and Wolfburn Whisky
Cromarty Brewing Company
With a first-class degree in brewing from Heriot-Watt University (and plenty experience refining his process in student halls and shared flats) Craig Middleton followed up stints at Colorado’s famed Odell Brewing Co and the Cairngorm Brewery by combining forces with his parents, Chap and Jenni, to launch the Cromarty Brewing Company in 2011.
Their first beer, Happy Chappy, soon got them noticed and six others – including AKA IPA, which featured on many of 2012’s ‘best new beer’ lists – successfully established them as part of the new breed of exciting young Scottish brewers.
Some recent enhancements to their brewing capacity, a new onsite shop selling direct to the public, plus an online store from summer 2013, means that their reputation is only likely to grow.
Wolfburn whisky won’t be available for purchase until 2016, but simply by setting up in the town of Thurso the brand has already given itself one unique selling point – a few miles north-west of Wick, home to Old Pulteney, it’s now the UK mainland’s most northerly distillery.
‘The idea was to re-invent the old Wolfburn distillery, which was founded in 1821,’ says business development manager Daniel Smith. ‘The ruins of the original distillery are on what’s now farm land and the new one’s 350 metres away in a business park.’
The distillery still draws its water from the burn that gave the original its name. It’s too early to describe the character of the spirit, but Smith says ‘we’re aiming to achieve a very smooth single malt. Much of the early release will be matured in small volumes. We’re hoping the final result will be a world-class whisky.’