First look at Port of Leith Distillery ahead of opening

The vertical distillery in Leith will open its doors next month.

Published 26th Sep 2023
Updated 30 th Oct 2023

Whisky fans will soon to be able the first vertical distillery Port of Leith in Edinburgh.

Port of Leith has opened its tour bookings ahead of opening to the public on Wednesday October 11.

More than a decade since the ‘pipe-dream’ idea was first conceived by wine merchant Ian Stirling and finance director Paddy Fletcher over a dram in Milroy's whisky bar, London, the £12m nine-storey distillery is complete and ready to welcome visitors.

Bookings are now live for Port of Leith’s tour and tasting experience, with tours running 12-8pm Wednesday to Friday, 11am-7pm on Saturdays and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.

Over the course of 90 minutes, fans will be guided through the story of the distillery’s unlikely conception, fill their own miniature bottle of new make spirit and taste their way through the distillery’s production process in its purpose built Quality Control Tasting Laboratory.

Reservations are now also available for the top floor mezzanine bar, also opening on October 11, a space with panoramic 360 views over the city, a floor to ceiling back whisky bar and a menu of small plates designed to showcase Scotland’s world class ingredients.

Ian Stirling, Co-Founder of Port of Leith Distillery said: “Building a distillery of our own has been an ambition of Paddy and mine for over 10 years so to see the project finally come to fruition is a surreal moment for us.

“We never set out to build a vertical distillery - the shape and size of the building is a product of the tiny site we were able to secure.

"We wedged our distillery tower into Edinburgh’s historic harbour to make our building as accessible as possible to people who, like us, love whisky.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the Port of Leith tour as special as we possibly can and look forward to welcoming fans across the globe to a whisky experience like no other.”

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Port of Leith is set to be the biggest tourist attraction to be built in Leith for decades, with a projected 25,000 visitors in its first year, increasing to 160,000 by 2025.

Paddy Fletcher, co-founder of The Port of Leith Distillery added: "Coming from Edinburgh, we were always confused as to why there were no single malt distilleries operating in the city.

“Being able to build something modern and different has been an enormous treat; hopefully it will encourage people to take a second look at Scotch whisky as there's huge amounts of innovation and excitement going on within the industry."

The distillery is creating up to 50 long term local jobs, with the capacity to produce one million bottles of whisky per year.

Priced at £26 per person, Port of Leith Distillery tours will be available from Wednesday 11 October.

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The Port of Leith Distillery, Leith, Edinburgh, UK
The Port of Leith Distillery, Leith, Edinburgh, UK, EH6 6FH
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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