Scottish Business Buzz

Scottish Business Buzz (13.12.17)

Written by Michelle Rodger

Inver House Distillers has announced a £3 million investment to make Balmenach one of Scotland’s greenest distilleries.

The company has commissioned a new anaerobic digestion system, which breaks down the co-products of whisky production using micro-organisms to produce clean, methane-rich biogas to power the site.

The new technology will integrate with Balmenach’s existing wood-pellet biomass boiler, and once complete, the combined system will generate enough renewable steam and electricity to meet 100 per cent of the Distillery’s energy requirements with a surplus of electrical energy supplied to the grid.

When operational in summer 2018, approximately 130m3 of whisky co-products (pot ale and spent lees) will be processed to produce 2,000m3 of biogas each day, feeding a combined heat and power engine which will supply 200kW of power and 230kW of heat.

Located near Grantown on Spey and one of Inver House Distillers’ five malt whisky plants, Balmenach is on track to produce 2 million litres of whisky for the blended Scotch market in 2018. The site is also the home of Caorunn, one of the fastest growing Scottish gin brands.

As well as the benefits of reduced emissions, improved energy efficiency and reduced operational costs, Balmenach’s use of these technologies will significantly reduce heavy goods vehicle movements from its remote location in the Spey Valley. The new system will also return clean water to the nearby burn, and nutrient rich bio-solids to the land for barley farming in the Speyside region.


A £65 million international centre of manufacturing expertise is to be built near Glasgow Airport.

The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) will provide support for businesses throughout the country, and aims to attract investment.

Strathclyde University will be the anchor university for the institute, which will be located at Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, next to Glasgow International Airport and the M8. The Scottish Government will invest £48 million in NMIS with £8 million from the University of Strathclyde.

It comes after £8.9 million announced by the Scottish Government in June 2017 for the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre as a first step towards the wider plans. Renfrewshire Council will provide a further £39.1 million through the Glasgow City Region Deal to support wider infrastructure work at the site.

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Scotland could be in line to benefit from a new deal for increased flights to China, following a landmark deal on aviation access.

The new agreement with China will allow up to 50 per cent more flights to the country from the UK – with the new opportunities ring-fenced for routes outside London airports.

Now Glasgow and Edinburgh airports could work with airlines to develop the new routes, after both have previously expressed interest in direct flights to China.

The deal could open the door for an economic boost to Scotland worth hundreds of millions of pounds by opening new markets for the country’s businesses and creating new tourism opportunities.

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2017 was a record-breaking year for the Port of Cromarty Firth, welcoming 151,078 cruise passengers on 93 ships to Invergordon and the Highlands;  this represents a 54% increase on 2016, when 97,992 passengers visited the Port.  It also firmly reinforces the Port’s position as Scotland’s busiest cruise port.

There was a direct spend by these passengers of around £15m in the local area and across the Highlands.  This provided an income boost to a range of attractions and destinations, from Eilean Donan Castle, Glenmorangie Distillery and Inverness, to Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Urquhart Castle and Strathspey Steam Railway.

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said: “It is encouraging to see Scotland’s popularity as an exciting cruising destination increasing every year and I am delighted to hear that numbers are up again this year at Invergordon. The fact that the tourism season in this region can be extended by these cruise ships docking here into December is very welcome. It also brings a fantastic boost to the local visitor economy.

“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth. Our reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand.”

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Experts at global accountancy giant EY  have said that City firms plan to move 10,500 jobs out of the UK on “day one” of Brexit.

The firm said Dublin and Frankfurt are the financial centres most likely to benefit from the UK’s departure from the EU. EY’s latest job tracker report states that the number of roles likely to be affected had fallen from estimates of 12,500 a year ago.

But it also concluded that the jobs being affected by Brexit were not just the “back office” ones initially forecast, but “front office” staff who deal directly with clients.

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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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