Lindores Abbey Distillery severs links with Russian investors

The historic Fife distillery confirmed that their Russian investors have resigned from the business.

Published 8th Mar 2022
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Lindores Abbey, which opened at the "spiritual home" of Scottish whisky more than 500 years after its first dram was recorded, released its first single malt in 2021.

The distillery is under the ownership of the Mckenzie Smith family, who purchased the site in 1913, but they've had investment from overseas, including whisky lovers from Russia.

Given the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Drew and Helen Mckenzie posted on their social media to confirm that the Russian investors have resigned as non-executive directors of the company.

The wrote: "In response to the current situation and the many questions being asked of us Helen and I would like to confirm the following.

"Lindores Abbey Distillery is a Scottish Company based in Newburgh Fife that produces Single Malt Whisky utilising barley only from local farms. Our employees are Scottish based and their livelihoods and those of their families depend the company’s ability to continue to operate.

"We have never hidden the fact that we have Russian investors and indeed these investors were introduced to us by Business Gateway a Scottish Govt agency. They are certainly not Oligarchs and certainly not on any sanctions list. They are first and foremost Whisky Lovers.

"We at Lindores however, utterly deplore and condemn the current situation in Ukraine.

"We have been in frequent discussions with our Russian shareholders and today they are resigning as Non-Executive Directors of the company.

"We are currently also in negotiations with them to try and agree a situation whereby the McKenzie Smith family will acquire their shareholding thus moving the company to 100% Scottish ownership and control.

"The on-going support of our staff, members of the 1494, customers and suppliers at this time is hugely valued.

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"These are more than trying times for very many people. First and foremost for those in the Ukraine but to a lesser extent for anybody who has been dragged into a situation not of their own making and we hope that everyone understands that Helen and my immediate concern is to protect local jobs and the ongoing health of the company."

Lindores Abbey Lindores Single Malt MCDXCIV (1494) Commemorative release and the Lindores Single Malt MCDXCIV, both containing the same Lowland single malt spirit were released to critical acclaim in 2021.

Speaking at the time of the whisky release, Drew

McKenzie Smith, founder and MD of Lindores Abbey Distillery, said: “It is wonderful to announce a date for our first general release, as we know our fans across the world have been keen to enjoy a sip of whisky history.

"The response to our inaugural members’ release was hugely positive and we are delighted to be able to now share the Commemoratively labelled Lindores and Lindores MCDXCIV.

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"The thinking behind this is that we want all our whisky to be accessible and enjoyed rather than only collected.

"If people want to enjoy our product they can do so even if they are not fortunate enough to obtain a commemoratively labelled bottle.”

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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