I’ve lost track of all the newly opened and re-opened Scottish whisky distilleries since the turn of the century, so whilst I’m still ‘dry’, I thought I’d compile a list of them with a brief description for each – revision for most of you, I’m sure. I’ve noted thirty-seven newly-opened distilleries since Daftmill’s rise in 2005, a further four that have/or are due to re-open, and a further nine that are in various stages of planning or construction. In alphabetical order, we start with:
Aberargie – Perthshire, Lowlands, est. 2017 [website]. This Morrison Distillers-owned distillery is located on the family’s 300-acre farm just outside of Perth.
Ailsa Bay – Lowlands, est. 2007 [website]: Situated within William Grant’s Girvan complex, their website tells us Ailsa Bay is ‘,… the only scotch whisky to undergo a process called ‘micro maturation‘, and ‘,… is the first whisky to have an analysed measurement of sweetness identified‘. Releases thus far have been few and far between [WB].
Annandale – Lowlands, est. 2014 [WLP]. When restoration of the site began in 2011, Annandale [though years behind Daftmill] was one of a number of forerunners of the Lowland region’s resurgence in whisky-making.
Arbikie – E. Highlands, est. 2015 [website]. Situated on the 2000-acre Stirling family estate, Arbikie tells us it produces [the] ‘World’s only rye Scotch whisky’.
Ardnahoe – Islay, est. 2017 [website]. [Still] the newest distillery on Islay, Hunter Laing’s Ardnahoe is the only distillery on the island to sport wooden worm tubs. Producing a ‘sweet, smoky and smooth yet peaty and spicy‘ spirit, they are yet to release either spirit nor single malt whisky.
Ardnamurchan – W. Highlands, est. 2014 [website]. Owned by Adelphi, the distillery is to be found via ‘,… winding roads accompanied by breathtaking glistening views,…’ [WLP]. Early releases are highly regarded and have proved popular amongst drinkers and collectors alike. One to watch.
Ardross – N. Highlands, est. 2019 [website]. Owned by Greenwood Distillers and presided over by Master Blender Andrew Rankin, I’m unsure whether they are producing barley spirit just yet.
Ballindalloch – Speyside, est. 2014 WLP: ‘,.. situated on the Ballindalloch golf course on the Ballindalloch estate, next to hole one [out] and hole nine [back in]’, their whisky will be released when it’s ready.
[The] Borders – est. 2018 website: ‘,… the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837’. ‘The owners include four men who had all previously worked for William Grant & Sons‘ [tMWYBook].
BrewDog – Aberdeenshire, est. 2016 [website]: As part of a brewery expansion, ‘we finally have the capacity to make this happen, and we have earmarked a dedicated area in our Ellon HQ to be converted into a BrewDog craft distillery‘. Previously called Lonewolf [and not to be confused with Cut your Wolf Loose or Woolf Drinks].
Burn o’Bennie – Aberdeenshire, Highlands, est. 2020 [website]. Previously situated in Banchory under the name Twin River, that distillery became the first to open in Deeside for around 200 years. They filled just 100 casks before moving locations and changing their name. Further reading: SW
Clydeside – Glasgow, est. 2017 [website]. Fulfilling the ambition of Tim Morrison, along with his son Andrew Morrison of reviving distilling in Glasgow. A visit to the distillery, shop, and museum is highly recommended [WLP].
Daftmill – Lowlands, est. 2005 [WLP]. Incredibly, Francis Cuthbert’s “when it’s ready” distillery is now in its 18th year of production! Daftmill’s micro bi-annual releases continue to sell out within hours.
Dalmunach – Speyside, est. 2015 website: ‘,… built on the site of the disused Imperial Distillery at Carron, becoming the fifteenth Scotch whisky distillery operated by Chivas Brothers. It is named after a nearby pool in the River Spey on whose banks it sits. It is one of more than 20 other distilleries in a five-mile radius, situated in the famous Spey Valley’.
Deeside – Aberdeenshire, Highlands, est. 2017 SW: ‘,… one of just a few Scottish whisky distilleries to be established by a brewery’,…… Brew Dog, Henstone, Yorkshire, Eden Mill….. Glen Luss.
Dornoch – Sutherland, Highlands, est. 2016 WLP/website: ‘Not content with establishing one of the World’s leading whisky bars in Dornoch, brothers Phil and Simon Thompson have upped their ambitions and started making their own whisky ………. forming Dornoch’s first whisky distillery‘. The distillery has since moved to a slightly larger location. Their first release – the first cask ever filled – proved to be excellent [WLP88]. Dornoch’s latest post reads: ‘Generally, our fermentations will run from anywhere between 120-192hrs, with the average being about 168hrs on our usual production schedule‘. All eyes on Dornoch.
Eden Mill – Fife, Lowlands, est. 2014 [WLP]. Situated on the grounds of a previous distillery called Seggie, Eden Mill was established in the same year as fellow Lowlanders, Annandale, and Kingsbarns. Like BrewDog, Henstone, Spirit of Yorkshire,… for example, Eden Mill is also set within a brewery. According to the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020, it is the first combined brewery and distillery in Scotland.
Falkirk – Lowlands est. 2020 [website]. For the Stewart family, a 10-year[+] dream of building their own Lowland whisky distillery has come to fruition.
Glasgow – Lowlands, est. 2015 website: ‘,… the first single malt whisky distillery in Glasgow for over 100 years’,… aside from Kinclaith [1958-1975] which was situated within the Strathclyde complex. There have been a number of single malt releases since the distillery’s inaugural bottling in 2018 [WB].
GlenWyvis – Dingwall, Highlands, est. 2017 [website says 2015] website: ‘More than 3,000 like-minded people invested in GlenWyvis to create the first ever 100% community-owned distillery’. The last whisky distillery in the town was Ben Wyvis, established in 1879 and closed in 1926.
Holyrood – Edinburgh, Lowlands, est. 2019 WLP: ‘Edinburgh’s first distillery since the closure of Glen Sciennes in 1925’. The 5000-litre wash & 3750-litre spirit stills, both made by Speyside Copper Works, are the tallest stills in Scotland in relation to their volume.
Inchdairnie – Lowlands, est. 2015/16? website: ‘Our first single malt may be unveiled in 2029’ – and there’s a counter on the front page of their website to reflect their ‘futuristic’ prediction. Further reading indicates that whilst Ian Palmer’s approach might be seen as unorthodox, ‘everything we do is about the quest for flavour’.
Isle of Raasay – Highlands [Isle of Skye], est. 2017 WLP/website: ‘,… harvesting the first Raasay barley for a generation, and handcrafting the first legal Isle of Raasay Gin and Isle of Raasay Single Malts in history’. With a wine background, Alasdair Day’s approach has been resolute from the start. Reception for the distillery’s early spirit output and subsequent single malt releases have been rightly positive. One to watch.
Kingsbarns – Fife, Lowlands, est. 2014 [WLP]. A distillery by family-owned independent bottler, Wemyss. When I last visited, casks were being filled and matured at the Inchdairnie Distillery [see above]. Since 2018, Kingsbarns has released a fair number of whiskies [WB].
Lindores Abbey – Fife, Lowlands, est. 2017 [website]. The emergence of Drew McKenzie Smith’s distillery is a great story, and thanks in no small part to the legendary whisky writer, Michael Jackson. The 1494 legacy aside, it’s about people [and preservation] over profits at the Abbey. Further reading: [WLP/WLP2]
Nc’nean – Morvern, Highlands, est. 2017 website: ‘We believe it is our responsibility to constantly improve our impact on this earth in terms of carbon footprint, pollution and biodiversity’. Being Scotland’s only [100%] organic distillery, Nc’nean is setting the standards bar for the rest of the industry to follow [if they so wish].
Roseisle – Highlands, est. 2009 SW: ‘Diageo’s Roseisle however was, with Aisla Bay, part of a new wave which have been specifically designed to produce a range of different characters of spirit’.
Starlaw – Lowlands, est. 2010 SW: ’,… the first greenfield Scotch grain distillery built since 1964’.
Strathearn – S. Highlands est. 2013 WLP: ‘Established [in 2013] by former engineer and IT manager Tony Reeman-Clark, Strathearn follows a similar model to Eden Mill, a micro-distillery that Tony helped design’. Being Scotland’s first micro-distillery [tMWYbook], Strathearn still/once [?] offered week-long distillery courses similar to Springbank.
Torabhaig – Isle of Skye, est. 2016 website: ‘,… the second ever licensed Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye’, Torabhain is owned by Mossburn Distillers who are owned by Marussia Beverages who are owned by Haydn Holding,….
Wolfburn – N. Highlands, est. 2013 WLP: ‘Wolfburn is situated in an industrial park between BT and The Church of JC & the Latter Day Saints. It’s only a minute away from the Scrabster Ferry to Stromness, but if it’s not on your radar you’ll miss it,….’ It won’t be long till Wolfburn has ready, their inaugural 10yo.
- Brora – Sutherland, Highlands [WLP]
- Glengyle – Campbeltown, est/closed. 1872-1941, reopened 2004 [SW/WLP]
- Port Ellen – Islay
- Rosebank – Lowlands
IN THE PIPELINE:
- Ardgowan – Inverkip [West of Glasgow], Lowlands website: ‘Our vision is to produce a flagship seven year old lowland single malt with a maritime influence – a whisky like no other’.
- Burnbrae – Lowlands website/F&D: ‘First announced in 2016, this exciting new distillery has flown completely under the radar of many. With little fanfare, this distillery is being built in a former Rolls Royce factory in the town of East Kilbride just south of Glasgow’.
- Gordon & MacPhail’s Cairn distillery is due to open this spring .
- Dunphail – Forres, Speyside [website]. From team-Bimber comes a proposed Scottish distillery featuring traditional floor maltings using locally sourced barley, and direct-fire distillation.
- Construction of the [Port of] Leith distillery in Edinburgh began in 2020 and is due for completion this year . Further reading: edinburghlive.co.uk/website
- On Islay, while Elixir Distillers have the go-ahead to build their distillery near Port Ellen [see pic above], Gartbreck [WLP] near Bowmore [see pic below], remains in the balance despite the cause being taken up [a few years ago now] by Jean Donnay, the owner of Glann ar Mor distillery in Brittany.
- Glen Luss – Loch Lomond, website/tSB: ‘,…. claims to be the first distillery and brewery on the shores of Loch Lomond and the first within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park‘.
- Toulvaddie – Highlands, est. 2017 website: ‘Toulvaddie Distillery will be the first Scotch whisky distillery to be founded and run by a woman in over 200 years’.
That’s it for now. Have I missed any out? Let me know in the comments below.
ADDITIONS: A few more distilleries I’ve since discovered in the pipeline include:
- Gramsdale, Benbecula, Uist. Further reading: whfp/tH
- Midhope Castle, West lothian. Further reading: scn/f&d
- Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides. Further reading: website
- Wolfcraig – The team is spearheaded by former Scottish rugby player Greig Laidlaw, and master blender Richard Paterson. Further reading: website