Loch Duart Smokehouse in Loch Carnan, South Uist, is to close down with all seven current members of staff being made redundant.
Originally launched as Salar Smokehouse by Eric and Jane Twelves, the business enjoyed huge success over the years, picking up several prestigious awards.
Fish farm company Loch Duart purchased the company in 2008.
Today it confirmed the long standing business is to close shortly, once all remaining stock is sold and outstanding clerical work is completed.
In a statement, Loch Duart said: “With much regret, we will be closing the smokehouse. While the smokehouse produces a wonderful, delicious product, unfortunately the business has not been the success that we had envisaged.
“We had been hoping, up until yesterday, 15th April, that a local consortium would take over business in time to ensure continuity of supply. There is still a chance that another consortium will take on the smokehouse but, unfortunately, the break in production is now unavoidable.
“Beyond that, in 2014, Loch Duart Ltd had invested a great deal of effort into setting up a form of community ownership. This fell through for reasons outside our control. We regret that the staff have been made redundant but we aim to absorb some into the fish farming operations.
“Loch Duart is still strongly committed to business within the Hebrides and continues to employ twenty-two full time members of staff in its fish farming operations on North and South Uist. Loch Duart has owned the smokehouse since 2008 and enjoyed sharing this wonderful smoked product with seafood lovers around the world. The company wishes to thank the smokehouse customers for their business.”
Speaking to Am Pàipear this afternoon, Loch Duart Sales Director Andy Bing added: “We are still keeping the assests in the hope something might happen in the next few weeks, which is not totally off the cards.”
Mr Bing said the closure was forced by the format in which the smokehouse was run “not proving viable”.
“We tried lots of strategies to increase turnover,” he added.
Am Pàipear asked Mr Bing whether a shutdown of the business in October 2013 – forced by the recall of significant quantities of stock after a potnetially harmful bacteria was found within two products – had led to the closure announded today.
He said: “Yes, possibly. Although things caught up afterwards, it was a knock back. But trade did improve afterwards.”