Aberdeenshire's Glen Garioch to undergo £6m renovation to return to traditional processes

Beam Suntory is making a significant £6 million investment in its Glen Garioch distillery in Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire.

Published 16th Mar 2021
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The renovation will see the Glen Garioch distillery return to more traditional production processes, while also introducing new cutting-edge technology for direct-fired distillation.

The planned changes will also reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint. Work began in 2020, and various stages are expected to be completed over the course of 2021.

The cornerstone of this transformation will be the reintroduction of floor maltings as well as the installation of direct-fired heating to the wash still – traditional methods still used by only a few of whisky distilleries.

The return to these traditional processes is a sign of Glen Garioch’s respect for its rich heritage, as well as the complexity and quality of its small batch, hand-crafted Highland single malt.

To complement this return to tradition, Glen Garioch has developed a state-of-the-art, highly efficient and safe method for direct fired distillation, which Beam Suntory anticipates will reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 15 per cent.

Glen Garioch renovation

The first new make spirit will come off the stills later in 2021.

Speaking of the renovations, Kwanele Mdluli, distillery manager, commented: "We are proud to make this investment in Glen Garioch’s historic distillery, and we’re excited about the future.

"Although these traditional distilling and malting methods are rare in today’s industry, our teams have deep expertise and passion for these methods, and we’re all looking forward to bringing them back to our distillery.

"We are honoured to be a part of Glen Garioch’s long tradition of innovation and quality craftsmanship."

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Francois Bazini, Beam Suntory’s Managing Director – Scotch, Gin & Irish, added: "Coming from one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, Glen Garioch is a rare find – a complex, hearty Highland malt, produced only in small batches.

"Our whisky has always been made with extraordinary care, and by reinvigorating its distillery and tapping into the brand’s rich history, we’ll be able to build on the quality and complexity that Glen Garioch is already known for.

"Although we’re looking to the past for inspiration – we’re opening the next chapter in Glen Garioch’s future."

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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