While over the years there have been female scotch distillery owners, managers and master distillers, Heather Nelson is the first woman to actually found a scotch distillery in 200 years—and the first woman ever to launch a scotch distillery on her own.
With an Approval in Principle secured, Toulvaddie Distillery is setting up shop in the Highlands in a repurposed naval air field. According to The Spirits Business, the distillery plans to produce 30,000 liters annually starting in 2017, and while Nelson has no plans to release a white, unaged spirit, the distillery will release a 1-year-old cask-aged spirit to tide people over.
Nelson has chosen to work with stills similar to those used illicitly by scotch makers at the pre-regulation dawn of the industry—befitting of her enterprising move. As women around the world win bartending competitions and drive new cocktail trends, we can’t wait to see where women will take the industry by the time the first Toulvaddie batch comes of age in a few years.