Edinburgh's first single malt whisky distillery for 90 years launches fundraising drive

New Edinburgh distillery project launches investment drive in bid to raise £5.5 million to convert historic Engine Shed building on St Leonard’s Lane.

Published 9th Jun 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Edinburgh is about to see the opening of the its first malt whisky and spirits distillery in 90 years and the team behind the new company are giving investors the opportunity to take part in a key milestone in the city's history.

Holyrood Distillery has launched a £5.5 million funding drive to help fund the new project to create a distillery and pioneering visitor centre, spanning 11,969 sq ft, in the heart of the capital.

Led by Johnston Carmichael, the fundraising launch marks the latest step in the distillery’s development, following the City of Edinburgh Council’s decision last year to approve development of the historic Engine Shed building and site on St Leonard’s Lane into a distillery and visitor centre.

The funds will be used to renovate the 180-year old City-owned building, purchase and install equipment, create the visitor experience and provide working capital to cover the early costs of start-up and production.

A joint development by David Robertson, former Master Distiller for The Macallan, and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Holyrood Distillery will be Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s.

The distillery will produce a range of single malts, gins, liqueurs and other spirits. Its innovative approach to ingredients, distilling processes and maturation will set Holyrood apart from more traditional approaches.

David Robertson pictured outside The Engine Shed on St Leonard's Lane, Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

The visitor centre - Holyrood’s ‘Home of Flavour’ – will provide an immersive sensory and educational experience aimed at enlightening and delighting its visitors as they explore the world of flavour.

Distilling of Holyrood whisky will begin in late 2018, with bottles hitting the shelves as early as 2021, but only if they meet the distillery’s quality standards.

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Holyrood’s ‘flavour first’ focus will be brought to life early in 2018 with prototype gins and liqueurs for test marketing.

Products will then be produced ready for the distillery opening to the public later in 2018.

Rob Carpenter, Managing Director, Holyrood Distillery said:  “We feel truly fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of bringing single malt distilling back to Edinburgh after far too long an absence.

"Kelly, David and I all love our spirits and we’re incredibly enthusiastic about making flavour-filled single malts, gins and other cool tipples as well as creating an experience which allows our visitors to truly immerse themselves in the world of Holyrood.

"We are confident that by placing a working distillery in the heart of Edinburgh’s capital, with the visitor numbers and cash flow that is expected to provide, we are creating something that is quite different from the typical distillery start-up.”

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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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