A MUSSELBURGH man is raising a glass to business success in the north Highlands.

Michael Hanratty, 33, is celebrating a string of industry accolades won by whisky shop The Carnegie Whisky Cellars in Dornoch, Sutherland, where he now works.

A former pupil of Musselburgh Grammar School and member of Musselburgh Army Cadet Force, he is originally from the town’s Delta Drive.

The Carnegie Whisky Cellars opened in June 2016 with the aim of developing “a centre of excellence” in the north Highlands for Scotch whisky and gin. The company was started by two hoteliers: Todd Warnock of Links House at Royal Dornoch, and D Murray Lamont of Mackays Hotel in Wick.

They decided to hire Michael, who was working as an agency guide at Glenkinchie Distillery near Pencaitland at the time.

For the first six months he worked with local tradesmen to create a vision for the company, with the shop opening on June 28, 2016.

Michael, who has a decade of experience in the whisky industry, said: “The shop quickly attracted customers from all over the UK.

“In April 2017, after only ten months of trading, the Carnegie Whisky Cellars were named as a finalist in the Scottish Independent Retail Awards where we won north region and overall awards for Off Licence of the Year 2017. This was followed by winning a Young Business Commendation for Developing the Young Workforce in October 2017.

“The Carnegie Whisky Cellars has strived to build a reputation of excellence within the Scottish drinks industry and in February we became the first Scottish business to win Newcomer of the Year at the Drinks Retailing Awards in London.

“This month, alongside Musselburgh’s own The Fine Wine Company, the south-east regional winner, the Carnegie Whisky Cellars were named a regional winner for Off Licence of the Year for the north in the Scottish Independent Retail Awards, beating out competition from businesses from between Perth and Shetland.”

Michael said he was proud of his Musselburgh roots and enjoyed reminding the locals in Dornoch, home to Royal Dornoch Golf Club, about his home town having the oldest golf course in the world.

His interest in whisky was developed by his grandfathers Dick White and Ernie Hanratty and his personality influenced by his grandmothers Jean White and the late Isa Hanratty, who passed away last month.

Michael said: “I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to all my family and friends in Musselburgh and East Lothian for their love and support – especially my father Ian.”

Michael, a keen kayaker, was often seen paddling down the River Esk with friends and family.