New distilleries and projects happening now in the Scotch whisky industry

FOR years a new distillery on the Scottish whisky map was a major event however now, with the market buoyed by global demand, there are several new ventures on the horizon.
In alphabetical order, here is a list and brief description of each of the new distilleries being built around Scotland.
Abhainn Dearg (pronounced Aveen Jarræk), meaning Red River in English, replaces 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. The distillery states it is the first (legal) malt whisky produced in the Outer Hebrides since 1829.
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 workhorse distillery will help to supply the massive demand for malt whisky for the Grants blend. There’s no word yet as to whether Aisla Bay will be available as a single malt whisky.
Building work began in 2007 to try and restore the old whisky distillery in Dumfrieshire which was closed originally in 1924.
Annandale Distillery now produces two types of Single Malt Scotch Whisky: the smooth and sophisticated ‘Man o’ Words’ is inspired by the poet, Robert Burns, and the smokey and powerful ‘Man o’ Sword’  which is named after King Robert the Bruce.
When Annandale Distillery originally opened in 1830, Annan was an established embarkation port for emigrant Scots. So it seems fitting that soon this re-established distillery will be sending out its own Scotch around the world, perhaps even to the very descendants of those Scots who left so long ago.
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.
Granted its license on St Andrews Day 2005, Daftmill is one of the newest distilleries to open in Scotland. A true farm distillery owned by the Cuthbert family it is a micro distillery that hopes to produce whisky once its maturation period is completed. Very interestingly it considers itself a Lowland distillery and a small portion of the whisky has been placed in casks from the Jack Daniel’s distillery.
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. The distillery, once completed will provide 86 full time jobs and is expected to attract around 75000 visitors a year.
The newest old distillery in Campbeltown, Glengyle distillery has been around for 140 years or more, however it has only recently started 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.
Kilkerran is now at work in progress six and is winning fans with its interesting use of wood and great flavour.
Huntly (Highlands) status – planning stages
Still in the planning stages the new distillery by Duncan Taylor will be based in Huntly. Site preparations began in July 2013 but little more has been mentioned. The distillery, which will have a turf roof, will also house offices, a warehouse, bottling plant and visitor centre. Watch this space.
Inspired by the tourist opportunities at the nearby St Andrews golf course, this Fife distillery  is currently in the commissioning stages and is even now beginning to produce it’s new make spirit which will be casked to create the whisky. If you’re interested you can now visit the distillery.
The brand new super distillery by Diageo is part of an investment in drink giant’s whisky production infrastructure
and has been built to meet growing demand for the firm’s 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.
Strathearn distillery is Scotland’s newest micro-distillery and probably also the smallest commercial distillery. Interestingly, it’s possibly the most open of all the current distilleries in that it offers plenty of tours and even opportunities to take part in the distillation process itself. So far most of the spirit produced has been gin but we look forward to seeing what whisky is produced.
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 it will be the most northernly mainland whisky  taking the title from Old Pulteney.
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 which could be built in Fife this year.
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. There are also plans for a distillery on Lewis, set to be built of Tarbet
Jean and Martine Donnay, who previously designed and built a distillery in Brittany, north-west France, have been granted planning permission to build a distillery at Gartbreck Farm, near Bowmore on Islay, by Argyll and Bute Council.
Among other new distilleries to receive funding from the Scottish government is Ballindalloch in Aberdeenshire (£1.27m) and Anniston Farms at Lunan, Angus (£292,000).

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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