Crabbies confirms first Edinburgh whisky for 100 years

Single malt whisky distilling has returned to Edinburgh after one of the city's best known drinks brands pushed the button on spirit production.

David Brown, managing director of John Crabbie & Co, called the production a 'significant milestone'. Picture: Contributed
David Brown, managing director of John Crabbie & Co, called the production a 'significant milestone'. Picture: Contributed

Halewood Wines & Spirits, owners of Whitley Neill Gin, Crabbie’s and the John Crabbie & Co malt whisky brand, confirmed that its new Granton distillery had started to produce single malt distillate.

The news marks the first ­production of single malt whisky in the Scottish capital in nearly 100 years and is part of a £50 million investment programme in “artisanal spirits” by Halewood.

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Crabbie’s, which is famous for producing ginger beers, relaunched the John Crabbie whisky brand in January and since has released a range of independent bottlings aged from eight to 40 years old from distilleries around Scotland.The brand, founded in 1801 had disappeared like many others with the decline of the Scotch whisky industry and of the port of Leith during the 20th century.

The company announced earlier this year that it will invest £7m to build a new distillery at Graham Street in Leith, where construction is already underway.

Halewood chief executive Stewart Hainsworth said: “The business has enjoyed strong growth in the past few years, driven by artisanal ­spirits and craft beer.

“The Chain Pier distillery in Granton is the first in a series of investments in Scotland. Added to this, construction is currently underway of a larger whisky distillery in Leith, Edinburgh.

“This will be the new home of John Crabbie & Co. These two distilleries are part of our £50m investment programme in artisanal spirits in the UK.”

David Brown, managing director of John Crabbie & Co, added: “The Chain Pier distillery gives us the opportunity to develop a wide range of new spirits, as we wait for our new distillery in Leith to be ­completed.

“Laying down our first cask of spirit is a significant milestone for the rejuvenated business and signals the return of single malt whisky production to Edinburgh after an absence of nearly a century.”

Meanwhile, the company announced the launch of two new releases of rare single malt, the Crabbie 25 year old and Crabbie 40 year old .

Brown said: “The Crabbie 25 year old is a very rare single malt from the same Speyside distillery and group of casks that produced our Crabbie 30 year old.”

He described the 40 year old as “quite a different beast”, with just 200 decanters of the drink to be released in the UK.