It’s the spirit of choice for many Scots and now the fiery liquid could have another, rather novel use - providing electrical power to up to 9,000 homes.
Some of Scotland’s best-known distilleries have signed up to a new bio-energy venture using a by-product in the whisky-making process.
Contracts have been awarded for the construction of a biomass combined heat and power plant at Rothes in Speyside, which will be in use by 2013.
Currently, large amounts of “draff” which is the spent grains used in the distilling process, and pot ale, a residue from the copper still , are produced by the whisky industry each year and are usually then transported off site.
But under the new plans by The Rothes project - a joint venture between Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) – the draff will be burnt with woodchips to generate enough electricity for 9,000 homes.
It will be supplied by Aalborg Energie Technick, a Danish engineering company, with the pot ale made into a concentrated organic fertilizer and an animal feed for use by local farmers.
Waste products from around 16 of the Speyside’s 50 distilleries will be used at the site, including well-known brands such as Glenlivet, Chivas, and Famous Grouse, and none will come from further than 25 miles away.
The £50 million Rothes project is the latest bioenergy venture from the Scottish whisky industry, but it is believed to be the first to provide electricity for public use.
So far concerns raised by environmentalists include the fact that some of the wood used might not be locally sources – but the project – which will provide electricity provided by the equivalent of of two large wind turbines – is being seen as a valuable addition to Scotland's renewables industry.
Frank Burns, the general manager of CoRD, said Speyside is the ideal location for the new bioenergy plant which will be built on an existing industrial site.
"It is very well supported in the local community. Up here in Rothes and in Speyside in general we have a lot of strong links," he said. "We had zero objections at the planning stage and we have done a lot of work within the community on the progress of the project."