Edinburgh Distillery to begin construction in May following successful fundraising drive

The first single malt whisky distillery announced for the capital in nearly a century has raised £5.8m from a crowdfunding project aimed at raising funds for its construction.

Published 13th Apr 2018
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The fundraising marks a pivotal milestone in the Edinburgh distillery’s development, following the council’s decision in 2017 to approve the ambitious new plans that will see the creation of a new distillery and visitor experience developed at the historic Engine Shed building and site on St Leonard’s Lane.

Holyrood Distillery will now begin construction on the site in May, with the aim of opening its doors to the public in spring 2019.

Comprising of investments from 60 private investors from around the world and £1.5m from the Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm, 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, ultimately creating 35 new jobs in the capital.

Rob Carpenter, founder of the Holyrood Distillery said:  “With a lot of hard work and effort by the whole team, and working with the supportive and highly professional team at Scottish Investment Bank, we have reached our fundraising target, allowing us to bring the distillery to life.

"We can now move on to the fun part - building our new distillery and visitor centre and making delicious spirits. We want our customers to be our guides, helping us shape and build the spirits and flavours that they most enjoy. It’s a new collaborative approach to spirit production that we are all truly excited about and one which we believe offers something quite different from other distilleries.”

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said:  “Scottish Enterprise welcomes the development of this new distillery and visitor experience in Scotland’s capital.  Tourism supports over 30,000 jobs in Edinburgh with over £1m per day being spent on food & drink.

"This will be a positive addition to the city’s food & drink sector whilst enhancing its tourism offering.  We look forward to helping the company deliver its growth plans.”

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.

Under the guidance of head distiller, Jack Mayo, the distillery aims to produce a range of single malts, gins, liqueurs and other spirits, with the team behind the project saying their progressive approach to playing with flavours, ingredients, distilling processes and maturation will set them apart from rival distilleries.

The team also confirmed that this ‘flavour first’ approach will seeprototype gins and liqueurs being made available for testing "within a matter of months".

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• READ MORE: Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery for 90 years launches fundraising drive

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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