What happened to these stalled whisky distillery construction projects?

With the growth and popularity of Scotch whisky showing no signs of slowing, new distilleries are popping up across the country with money invested in the sector from all over the globe.

Published 29th Apr 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

However, there are still some new distilleries that have struggled to get their projects off the ground, keep to their own deadlines or have simply stalled entirely.

Here is what is happening with some of the most well documented examples.

Falkirk Distillery

(Region: Lowland, Location: Polmont, Owners: The Falkirk Distillery Company, due date: End of 2019)

The Falkirk Distillery is due to open this year after three years of construction. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Falkirk Distillery Company has been in the latter stages of construction at the site at Polmont for a few years now having first gained planning permission way back in 2009.

Brother and sister directors Alan and Fiona Stewart hope the new Falkirk Distillery will draw around 75,000 visitors per year, adding to the district’s other landmark attractions such as the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies.

Fiona confirmed to us that they have their equipment and team in place, including master distiller and blender Ian McMillan, and should be on the road to producing their "lowland whisky with a twist" by the end of 2019 at the very latest.

Toulvaddie Distillery

(Region: Highlands, Location: Tain, Owners: Toulvaddie Distillery Ltd, due date: TBA)

Perhpas one of the most exciting projects on the go at the moment this new Highland distillery, to be built on an old naval airfield in Ross-shire, is set to become the first new whisky distillery founded by a woman in almost 200 years.

First announced in December 2016, the micro whisky distillery will have the capacity to produce around 30,000 litres of spirit per year, with founder Heather Nelson taking on a very hands on approach.

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The project went quiet after missing its own deadline of late 2017, the project is still very much on track, though the opening date has been pushed back slightly.

Gartbreck Distillery

(Region: Islay, Location: Islay, Owners: Jean Donnay, due date: TBA)

How the new distillery will look. Picture: Gartbreck

Originally set to be the official 9th distillery on Islay - a title since lost to Ardnahoe - Gartbreck is the new project by Jean Donnay, the owner of Glann ar Mor distillery in Brittany. First announced in way back in 2013, the project has been plagued by problems including a land dispute (now resolved) with the firm behind Ardnahoe.

Situated on the shores of Loch Indaal, the distillery, which has reportedly stalled due to a lack of funding, will be maintained using traditional methods, including a live flame to heat the copper stills.

Burnbrae Distillery

(Region: Lowland, Location: East Kilbride, Owners: Campbell Meyer and Co., due date: TBA)

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Picture: Burnbrae Distillery

First announced in 2016, this exciting new distillery has flown completely under the radar of many. With little fanfare, this distillery is being built in a former Rolls Royce factory in the town of East Kilbride just south of Glasgow by a team of whisky experts including parent company and independent bottlers Campbell Meyer and Co. and industry veteran Dr. Harry Riffkin.

Outwith a selection of incredible photographs (like the one above) and a minimalist website, there's not been much information on offer regarding this secretive production site.

Already producing spirit

These new distilleries should they ever be completed will join the current raft of new distilleries which include:


Kingsbarns (Fife, 2014), Annandale (Annan, 2014), Ailsa Bay (Girvan, 2007), Eden Mill (St Andrews, 2014), Glasgow (Glasgow, 2015), Lindores Abbey Distillery (Cupar, 2017), Inchdairnie Distillery (Fife, 2017), Clydeside Distillery (Glasgow, 2018),The Borders Distillery (Hawick, 2018) and Daftmill (Fife, 2005)

Highlands and Islands

Strathearn (Perthshire, 2013), Roseisle (Morayshire, 2009), Ardnamurchan (Glenbeg, 2014), Abhainn Dearg – pronounced Aveen Jarek (Isle of Lewis, 2008), Harris (Isle of Harris, 2015), Arbikie (Arbroath, 2015), Dornoch (Dornoch, 2016), Torabhaig (Isle of Skye, 2016\17), Ardnahoe (Islay, 2019), Ncn’ean Distillery (Drimnin, 2016) Raasay (Isle of Raasay, 2018), GlenWyvis Distillery (Dingwall, 2018), Lagg Distillery (Arran, 2019), LoneWolf (Aberdeen, 2018), Aberargie Distillery (Perth, 2018), Wolfburn (Thurso, 2013)

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Ballindalloch (Banffshire, 2014) and Dalmunach (Carron, 2015)

Close to completion, in planning stages or set to enter the market

Saxa Vord Distillery (Shetland, TBA when whisky production will start), Port of Leith Distillery (Leith, 2020), Holyrood Distillery (Edinburgh, 2020), Ardgowan Distillery (Inverkip, 2020)  Clutha Distillery (Glasgow, 2020), Crabbies Distillery (Edinburgh, 2021), Cabrach Distillery (Cabrach, 2021), Ardross distillery (Ardross, 2020)



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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