Crabbie's to open new distillery near historic Leith home

It is a drinks brand famous for its ginger beers and wines. But now Crabbie's has announced it will revive its Scotch whisky business with the opening of a new distillery in Leith.

David Brown with a bottle of Crabbie's whisky. The firm is reviving its whisky business with a new distillery in Leith. Picture: Contributed

The company announced today its intention to build a new production centre in Graham Street, close to the firm’s historic base in Yardheads.

Subject to planning approval, the £7m single malt distillery could enter production in early 2019.

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Crabbie’s, which is now owned by Halewood Wines & Spirits, was founded in the mid-19th century by John Crabbie at a former porter brewery near Great Junction Street.

An artist's impression of how the new distillery in Graham Street could look

The firm quickly established itself as a leading whisky blender and manufacturer of ginger wines.

John Crabbie gained a reputation for selecting the best casks available from over 70 distilleries from all around Scotland, to sell under the Crabbie name.

His business led to the creation of the North British grain distillery in Edinburgh, which is still thriving today. With the decline of the Scotch Whisky industry and of the port of Leith during the 20th century, the Crabbie whisky brand disappeared like many others.

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David Brown, managing director of John Crabbie & Co, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans to invest in the creation of a new distillery in Leith. It’s particularly pleasing that it will bear the name of John Crabbie, surely one of Edinburgh’s most legendary sons.

“The site we have chosen in Leith has historical links with Scotch whisky production and maturation dating back over 200 years and we hope it will contribute to the rising prosperity of the area with the creation of new jobs and through attracting additional visitors to the city. With the growing popularity of Scotch whisky around the world the time is right to rediscover the Crabbie whisky brand and to put Edinburgh firmly back on the Scotch whisky map.”