22 amazing archive pictures of Scotland's whisky distilleries

We take a look back at some of the amazing pictures in our archive of lost distilleries, whisky production and dram sampling in Scotland.

Published 6th Feb 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

From lost distilleries like Glenury Royal and Lochside to those that are due for a revival like Rosebank, here are some of our favourite whisky-themed photographs from the last century.

Closed/Mothballed Distilleries

Lochside Distillery, Montrose

The filling station at McNab's Lochside Distillery in Montrose in the 1960s. Picture: TSPL

Lochside Distillery was  founded in 1957 and combined single malt and grain production at its site in Montrose before finally being mothballed in 1992.

Glenury Royal whisky distillery, Stonehaven

The exterior of the Glenury Royal whisky distillery in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire in February 1966.

Founded in 1825, Glenury Royal was opened by Captain Robert Barclay, who is described by Alfred Barnard as a "well-known champion pedestrian" owing to his feat of having walked a thousand miles in a thousand hours. It was famed for only using local barley, which it believed was of the finest quality.

The distillery finally closed in 1985.

St. Magdalene, Linlithgow

The old distillery building. Picture: TSPL

This large distillery was established in Linlithgow in around 1795 and is considered to be one of the most famous lost lowland distilleries.

Night security officer Mr T Clydesdale in one of the warehouses in 1962.

After the distillery closed in 1983, some of its structure was transformed into flats.

Caledonian Distillery, Edinburgh

The floor maltings at Caledonian Distillery off Dalry Road Edinburgh in 1960. Picture: TSPL

The former Caledonian Distillery site at Haymarket. Picture: TSPL

This lost Edinburgh distillery was situated close to Haymarket Station, and was built by Graham Menzies in 1855.

It was noted by Alfred Barnard as being the second largest grain distillery in the UK at that time.

• READ MORE: The lost whisky distilleries of Edinburgh

Rosebank Distillery, Falkirk

Men working the whisky stills at Rosebank distillery, which closed in February 1993. Picture: TSPL

Closed in 1993, the 'King of the Lowlands' is set to be revived soon, under a new project by whisky specialists Ian Macleod Distillers.

Port Charlotte unveils first 18 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky

Distilleries that are still open

Knockando whisky distillery, Grantown-on-Spey

Unidentified man working at the distillery near Grantown-on-Spey in May 1971.

Tamnavulin distillery,  Tomintoul

Spirit safes and still house (whisky stills) at the distillery near Tomintoul in Banffshire in May 1966.


The Mast Tun in May 1966.

Glenlivet Distillery, Speyside

A view of a tractor trailer being filled with grain at the Glenlivet Distillery in Morayshire in the 1960s.

Bladnoch Distillery, Newton Stewart

Bladnoch Distillery at Newton Stewart seen from under a bridge in the 1960s.

Highland Park Distillery, Orkney

Workers check the washbacks in the 1960s.

Glen Moray, Elgin

The still houses in Glen Moray in the 1960s

North British distillery, Edinburgh

Geoff Harris, quality control supervisor, from the North British distillery checks the casks in 1997.

Ardbeg Distillery

Other fun pictures 

A rare bottle of Macallan

Security guard Tony Kidd and his colleague carry a 60-year-old bottle of Macallan whisky (worth about £5000 at that time) into the Bank of Scotland headquarters at the Mound in Edinburgh, where it was to be kept in their vaults in June 1987.

A gift-wrapped still

Distillery Engineer Graham Singer prepares a pot still handcrafted at Glenfiddich for a 3750 mile transatlantic journey to Washington where it formed a centre piece at the Smithsonian Festival in June 2009. The family owned single malt brand invested £50,000 to support Scotland’s presence at the event.


Ian McDonald, a cooper at the Glenfiddach Distillery, prepares a barrel for whisky maturation as part of a demonstartion at Whisky Live Glasgow in 2004. Mr McDonald repairs and prepares approx 20 barrels per day, and has done so every day of the 35 years he has worked there.

The inside of a copper potstill

Production officer Walter Baker investigates inside a copper pot whisky still in March 2003 - one of two producing 1.3 million litres of malt whisky annually at the Glenkinchie distillery in East Lothian. Picture: PA

The 'Whisky King'

Sir Robert Usher, known as the Whisky King, of the Usher family which bequested the Usher Hall to the city of Edinburgh. Picture circa 1913.

The Blackening

Apprentice cooper Thomas Rodger is covered in feathers and sawdust as part of his 'coopering' initiation ceremony at the William Grant & Sons distillery in Girvan in September 1970.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-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 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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