Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian opens the doors to its newly extended visitor centre

A Scotch whisky distillery in East Lothian, has opened the doors to its newly extended visitor centre as part of ambitious plans to grow tourism.

Published 28th Aug 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Glenkinchie Distillery, which is famous for producing whisky known as the ‘Edinburgh Malt’ due to its close proximity to Scotland’s capital city, marked the occasion with the help of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Fanfare Band of the 9th French Marine Infantry Brigade and Pipers Trail took time out from performing at the Tattoo to provide a musical backdrop to the cutting of the ribbon at Glenkinchie’s new visitor centre extension.

Picture: Diageo

The bands spent the day at the distillery entertaining guests while whisky lovers were treated to free tours to get an exclusive first glimpse of the new facilities.

Glenkinchie is the official single malt of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and each performance on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle is toasted with a dram of its whisky.

As a result of the £450,000 investment, Glenkinchie’s visitor centre now has an extended reception area and larger shop to allow the distillery to cater for the growing numbers of visitors flocking there each year.

Picture: Diageo

Glenkinchie’s expansion forms part of Diageo’s wider plan to build on the popularity of Scotch whisky tourism experiences in Scotland. The company is investing steadily to improve the distillery visitor experience, and ensure that Scotch continues to grow and attract visitors from across the globe.

Its 12 distillery visitor centres in Scotland now attract over 400,000 people, more than double the number of people they did eight years ago.

Last year Glenkinchie attracted almost 46,000 tourists (an increase of 8 per cent from the previous 12 months) and the latest investment gives the distillery the capacity to potentially double its visitor numbers in the years ahead.

Picture: Diageo

Ramsay Borthwick, senior site manager at Glenkinchie Distillery, said: “We pride ourselves on being able to offer unforgettable experiences for all of our visitors and we are delighted with the growth we’ve seen in visitor numbers over recent years. This investment will enhance the quality of the visitor experience and will allow us to welcome even more guests as they fall in love with Scotch whisky and Scotland.

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“It was fantastic to have the bands come to the distillery to help us celebrate. The atmosphere was electric, especially as they included performers from across the world – reflecting the global reach of the distillery and the visitors that it attracts.

“It’s also particularly fitting to have made such an important investment in the future of Glenkinchie now, as this year marks the distillery’s 180th anniversary and also the 20th anniversary of the visitor centre being open to the public – all the more reason to celebrate.”

In addition to the visitor centre renovation, Diageo also worked with Fa’side Area Partnership to create a walking and cycle path connecting Glenkinchie Distillery to the popular countryside Pencaitland Railway Walk.

The path, which is also now complete, directly connects the Railway Walk to the newly refurbished visitor centre making the distillery more accessible to visitors.

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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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