£50m Borders distillery project pushes ahead after joining Green Investment Portfolio

A £50 million whisky distillery project in the Borders has claimed an industry first after joining Scotland’s Green Investment Portfolio.

Jackson Distillers, based in St Boswells, aims to be Scotland’s first carbon neutral grain whisky distillery. Planning permission for the construction of the £50m distillery was granted in 2021, and fundraising for the project is due to complete by the end of this year.

The distillery will source grain from local farms to provide the whisky industry with high quality spirit for blending, as well as producing neutral spirit for gin production.

The St Boswells’ plant will use around a quarter of the water normally required for production, and waste product will be converted into energy through the natural anaerobic digestion process.

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It is expected that the development will also create 20 permanent jobs and more than 200 roles on-site through the construction phase, developing skills and training opportunities locally and generating significant economic value for the Scottish Borders.

The plans have been supported by South of Scotland Enterprise as a transformational project for the Scottish Borders and south of Scotland.

Trevor Jackson, founder and chief executive of Jackson Distillers, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to join Scotland’s Green Investment Portfolio, an elite group of innovative businesses who share our ambition of a low carbon future. I am particularly excited about working with Scottish Development International (SDI) and South of Scotland Enterprise to make this opportunity for the Scottish Borders a reality.

“With planning permission now in place, Jackson Distillers have created a highly competitive ‘market ready’ investment which will provide a crucial ongoing contribution to the local rural economy.”

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Architectural render by Michael Laird Architects of the proposed St Boswells distillery.

Led by the Scottish Government and supported by SDI, the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, the Green Investment Portfolio contains more than £1 billion of low carbon, eco-friendly and recycling projects that are seeking private capital.

Mark Hallan, director of global investment at SDI, said: “The Green Investment Portfolio highlights significant, market-ready, investment opportunities that will help Scotland transition to a net zero economy by 2045.

“This ample portfolio of assets has been significantly enhanced by the addition of Jackson Distillers’ innovative new grain whisky distillery. This will also be the first of our Green Investment Portfolio projects to be based in the Scottish Borders, demonstrating that private capital investment opportunities exist the length and breadth of Scotland.”

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Martin Valenti, director for net zero at South of Scotland Enterprise, added: “At a time when many businesses are struggling to cope with energy bills it is especially exciting to be supporting Trevor Jackson and his team build their inspiring vision for a carbon neutral grain distillery.

“Building a business that works in harmony with the environment and nature will deliver multiple benefits including the opportunity to create unique and exciting sustainable branded whiskies but also make the plant fit for the future protecting it against future energy challenges.”

Scotch whisky accounts for 75 per cent of Scottish food and drink exports, providing some £5.5bn in gross value to the UK economy.

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