A NEW distillery in the Cabrach which would make whisky using 19th century methods is now £310,000 closer to being built.
The area is one of the birthplaces of the Scotch whisky industry and was famed for illicit stills and smuggling.
Campaigners now want to build a heritage centre and distillery to celebrate those historic times.
Work is expected to start later this year at Inverharroch Farm in the Lower Cabrach, thanks to the support of a number of groups – including a £50,000 anonymous donation.
Sue Savege, executive director of the Cabrach Trust, said: "We are very grateful to the foundations and organisations for sharing our vision for the Cabrach and generously awarded us funding so far.
"This is going to be an exciting year for us and we’re all eagerly looking forward to seeing things really starting to progress.
"Now that we have full planning permission for Inverharroch, the next stage is to put the fine detail onto our plans.
"Working with our local community, as well as taking advice from professional partners, we want to make the heritage centre a unique and distinctive destination.
"We want it to be somewhere which both local and overseas visitors, families, whisky enthusiasts and heritage lovers alike will find interesting, engaging and compelling, and will want to visit time and time again."
Distilling is expected to get underway in 2019 and the first bottling of mature whisky from the historical distillery made in 2024, with 150,000 bottles produced each year.
The development will create 12 jobs.
The William Grant Foundation has awarded the project £125,000.
The Vattenfall Clashindarroch Community Fund has given £25,000, while a further £110,000 has come from the Reekimlane Foundation.