The new whisky distilleries being built in Scotland

Diageo's Roseisle distillery. Picture: Diageo
Diageo's Roseisle distillery. Picture: Diageo
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For years a new distillery on the Scottish whisky map was a major event however now, with the market bouyed by global demand, there are several new ventures on the horizon.

Here we look at the new distilleries and projects happening now in the Scotch whisky industry.

New Distilleries

In alphabetical order, here is a list and brief description of each of the new distilleries being built around Scotland.

Abhainn Dearg (Islands) status - Open

Replacing Kilchoman as the most westerly distillery, located on Uig on the isle of Lewis, the distillery began production of spirit several years ago and has now produced its first whisky.

Ailsa Bay (Lowlands) status - Open

Work began on William Grant and Sons new distillery near Girvan (close to the site of the old Ladyburn distillery) in 2007 and was completed in 2009. Now up and running, this new work horse distillery will help to supply the massive demand for malt whisky for the Grants blend.

Annandale (Lowlands) status – nearing completion

Building work began in 2007 to try and restore the old whisky distillery in Dumfrieshire which was closed originally in 1924, soon to be completed; the owners hope to produce a uniquely smoky lowland based whisky.

Barra (Islands) status – still in construction

This new distillery near Borve on Barra, will be the first on the island. Still in construction, the distillery aims to up tourism to the island and produce its first whisky as soon as possible.

Daftmill (Lowlands/Highlands) status - open

Granted its license on St Andrews Day 2005, Daftmill is one of the newest distilleries to open in Scotland. A farm distillery owned by the Cuthbert family, the micro distillery hopes to produce whisky once its maturation period is completed. Very interestingly it considers itself a Lowland and a small portion of the whisky has been placed in casks from the Jack Daniel’s distillery.

Falkirk Distillery (Lowlands/Highlands) status – planning stage.

Part of the ongoing redevelopment of the area, this new distillery will be built near the site of the old Rosebank distillery and aims to build on the success of that whisky.

Glengyle/Kilkerran(Campbeltown) status – open/producing

The newest old distillery in Campbeltown, Glengyle distillery has been around for 140 years or more, however it has only recently begun producing again. Originally founded by William Mitchell, after a spat with his brother John who he helped run Springbank distillery, William left to build his own.

Now back in the hands of the original family, they have restored the building and have produced their new malt, Kilkerran. The reason for the name change is down to a clash with an existing Highland blend who already owns the name Glengyle.

Huntly (Highlands) status – planning stages

Still in the planning stages the new distillery by Duncan Taylor will be based in Huntly. Watch this space.

Kingsbarns (Highland) status – nearing completion

Inspired by the tourist opportunities at the near by Saint Andrews golf links, this distillery situated in Fife is still in the building stages.

Roseisle (Speyside) status – open

The brand new super distillery by Diageo is part of the investment in the infrastructure of their whisky production and hopes to be able to meet the demand for the malt of the company’s many blends.

Paul Walsh of Diageo said: “Roseisle distillery is a great source of pride to everyone at Diageo. It gathers all the skill and knowledge we have built up over centuries in distilling whisky and combines it with the highest quality design possible, to create a stunning new distillery. It also uses cutting edge technology to significantly minimise our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.”

Mainly used for blends, it has been confirmed however, that Diageo also intend to bottle a Roseisle single malt.

Wolfburn (Highlands) status – open

Not much information exists on the original distillery near Thurso but it was apparently one of the biggest producing distilleries in the area. Using traditional techniques the new distillery aims to produce an unpeated highland malt and when matured will be the most northerly whisky on the mainland of Scotland, taking the title from Old Pulteney who currently hold it.

It has just produced its first spirit which is now laid down and in the maturation process. The wolf logo is based on a drawing by Konrad Gesner, the 16th century linguist and zoologist and is said to be of a sea wolf, which if spotted brought good fortune.

Possible new distilleries (still in the planning phase)

Glenrothes micro distillery is a new joint venture distillery, aimed to be built in Fife by 2015. Plans for a new boutique distillery on Shetland have gone ahead, replacing the now dead Blackwood project. The Shetland distillery will be built at Saxa vord. A new distillery will also be built on the supposed home of the first ever Scottish distillation, the Lindores distillery will be built on the grounds of the derelict Lindores abbey, thought by many to be the spiritual home of whisky. Adelphi have also begun work on their Ardnamurchan distillery, which will be built at Ardnamurchan in Argyll on the west coast.

Extensions and Improvements

Announcing the investment of £1bn in their whisky producing infrastructure by his company, Diageo Chief Executive, Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland’s most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.

“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth.”

The Diageo plans include:-

• £30m investment and improvement – Mortlach Distillery (Speyside)
• £3.2m investment and improvement – Glen Ord distillery (Speyside)

• £3.1m investment and improvement – Caol ila distillery (Islay)

Not to be out done, the Edrington group have also announced plans to invest no less than £100m in improving and updating their Macallan distillery, with plans for a second distillery and a visitor’s centre.