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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 12:10 GMT
Pioneering dram plan for Borders
Whisky distillery
The distillery would be the first in the Scottish Borders
Talks have been held about creating a 1m whisky distillery and visitor centre in the Borders.

A business consortium has held discussions with Scottish Borders Council over the plans for the first ever distillery in the region.

One of the potential sites has emerged as the Mellerstain Estate near Kelso.

If the bid is successful, it is hoped to incorporate a shop and visitor centre with a lowland whisky being produced by as early as 2008.

The idea was very much to boost tourism and to capture the tourists as they came up into the Borders
Dr Alan Rutherford

Adviser to the consortium, Dr Alan Rutherford, said a number of locations along the A68 through the Borders had been considered.

He added that Mellerstain - although off that main route - had also been earmarked as a potential site.

He said the development could be modelled on other successful schemes in the north of Scotland.

"The idea was very much to boost tourism and to capture the tourists as they came up into the Borders," he said.

"It is probably best to combine it with some sort of retail offering.

"I had in mind a retail centre rather like the House of Bruar something that would offer the best of Borders produce and manufacturing."

Dr Rutherford said a feasibility study had now been commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Borders.

Historic reasons

A former head of the Scotch Whisky Association, he said there were a number of reasons why there had been no such development in the region before.

"I think the history of distilling is tied up with the history of smuggling and illicit stills," he said.

"It was probably more difficult to hide in the Borders than it was in Speyside or the islands."

He added that the proximity of distilleries in Glasgow and Edinburgh and agricultural issues may also have played a part.

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