A remote Highlands community is giving its young people a cask of whisky for their 18th birthday to help drive the economy and encourage families to remain in the area.
The Ardnamurchan Trust charity will buy a cask of maturing spirit from the Ardnamurchan distillery for every resident aged between 10 and 17.
On their 18th birthday, they will have the option of selling the cask back to the distillery with the profits being used to finance their tertiary education, future training and careers.
Alex Bruce, managing director of Adelphi, which owns the distillery, said: “It will benefit young people in the Ardnamurchan area, who will directly profit from the sale of their local whisky.
“We’ll also be offering additional support by forging further links with the community and local businesses, as well as offering work experience and training throughout all aspects of the business.
“In addition to supporting the next generation from an early age, it also gives us security of an established long-term employment pool in the area.”
The trust hopes the move will encourage diversification, promote collaboration between businesses and address the issue of rural depopulation.
A spokesman for the Ardnamurchan Trust said: “The trustees are immensely grateful to Adelphi for making it possible for the young people of the area to be given the opportunity to learn about all the different aspects of one of Scotland’s most important manufacturing and exporting businesses, as well as the hope of realising a financial gain when the casks are sold to help in reducing the financial burden faced by young people entering further education.
“With the ongoing support of the Scottish Government and Scotland Food & Drink, we hope the scheme can be replicated through other community initiatives across the industry.”
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s whisky distilleries do much to support their local communities and economies, but equally those distilleries could not exist without the skills and expertise provided by people living in those communities.
“With this unique scheme, the Ardnamurchan Trust are not only ‘giving something back’ to young people and their families in the local area, but also creating a potential long-term benefit for everyone.”
James Withers, chief executive officer at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “We have a great diversity of world-class products but we also want to be champions of responsible and sustainable practices.
“Investment in the next generation is key to achieving that vision. We are excited to see the launch of this initiative by the Ardnamurchan Trust. It is creative, forward-thinking planning for the future.”