A DORNOCH farmer is hoping to set up Sutherland’s first micro brewery in one of his redundant outbuildings, using spring water and producing around 160 bottles a week.
Ian Grant has lodged an application for planning consent to establish the operation in a 300 square metre section of an unused steading at Pitgrudy Farm.
If the venture gets the go-ahead, it will add to Dornoch’s growing reputation as a food and drink destination.
A gin and whisky distillery came on stream in the centre of the town last year, run by brothers Philip and Simon Thompson.
A whisky shop also operates out of the Carnegie Courthouse.
And chocolate manufacturers Coco Mountain also set up shop in Dornoch in 2017.
Mr Grant (74), who has stepped back from active farming and rents out his land as grazings, decided to set up a brewery after beer enthusiast Stefan Kelly rented a cottage at the farm.
He said: "Stefan is a real beer enthusiast and produces some really great stuff. I had a redundant building where junk was stores so I thought why not use it to make beer."
The two men have already set the wheels in motion in order to test the market, buying brewing equipment off ebay.
Mr Kelly is to be the brewer in chief while Mr Grant will be working on the "fringe" of the enterprise. There is the possibility of another job being created.
It is intended to use spring water in the process and a 160ft borehole has been sunk on the farm.
The new beer will be branded under the Gaelic name for Dornoch – Dórnach – and four types are planned.
Mr Grant said that experimental batches already produced have been given the thumbs-up by local consumers.
He said: "We can’t sell the beer until we get planning consent but we can give out samples and have put some down to the local pub as market research. Our light beer has gone down a bomb with encouraging reports from consumers. We have established that there is a demand."
He estimates that, if he gets the green light, the first commercial beer from the Pitgrudy brewery could be on the market around a month afterwards.
He and Stefan also have plans for new twists to their beer production
Mr Grant said: "We are hoping to experiment by filling whisky casks with beer and see how it comes out – it may give it a different flavour."