7 new whisky distilleries opening in Scotland this year - including Rosebank and The Cabrach

As the whisky market continues to grow, there are many new openings to look forward to this year.

Published 26th Mar 2024
Updated 22 nd Apr 2024

Here we take a look at a range of new distilleries which are set to open this year in Scotland, from eye-catching builds, to long lost names from ‘ghost’ sites and sustainable projects.

Ardgowan, Inverkip

whisky distilleries opening Scotland
Picture: Plans for the Ardgowan distillery

This sustainable distillery revealed plans for its distillery and visitor centre in early 2022.

The design for the Ardgowan distillery uses low environmental impact composite cladding, timber and steel materials to create a light-filled modern Nordic long hall.

The building is designed to provide an ergonomic energy efficient distillery and to maximise the visitor experience and will incorporate a glass-walled ‘sky platform’ with views of the Clyde.

Planning was secured in 2019 and ground was broken last year. It is thought that the distillery will open later this year.

Eden Mill, St Andrews

Scottish distillers Eden Mill are in the latter stages of constructing their gin and whisky distillery on the banks of the Eden Estuary in Guardbridge, St. Andrews.

Based on The University of St Andrews' Eden Campus, the distillery is being built with sustainability at its core.

All electricity will be sourced from renewable sources including the University's own solar array farm and Co2 from the fermentation will be captured and re-used by the University.

Eden Mill's new distillery will be operational later this year, and will open to the public early 2025.

Portintruan Distillery, Islay

Elixir Distillers Islay

Famous whisky destination, Islay, is set to get another distillery, as planning permission was granted to Elixir Distillers and ground broken for Portintruan Distillery in 2020.

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Born from a love of Islay and its whiskies, co-founders of Elixir Distillers Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh plan to combine elements of tradition and modernity in both design and production for their new distillery.

The design of the distillery features an exterior that ties in with the traditional look of the other south coast distilleries on Islay, alongside some modern touches that reflect the landscape of the site on which it will be built.

Inside there will be floor maltings and plans also detail an on-site, a visitor’s centre and a multi-purpose educational facility.

Work is well underway on the distillery site, with distilling anticipated in 2024, led by distillery manager Georgie Crawford.

Benbecula Distillery, Benbecula

new whisky distilleries Scotland

This outer Hebrides distillery plans to start distilling this year. Owned by father and son team, Angus E and Angus A MacMillan, the duo have also recently released a whisky, rum and gin under the MacMillan spirits brand.

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Benbecula Distillery will pay homage to the island’s rich maritime heritage. These include a storytelling corner, a seafood bar and a Lighthouse offering 360 degree views over Benbecula looking as far as Skye, Harris and the Monach Isles.

Benbecula Distillery has the ambition to be producing 500,000 bottles of whisky per year and it is estimated that this will create an initial 10-12 local jobs.

Port Ellen, Islay

Port Ellen Islay reopen

Back in 2019, Diageo submitted plans that would see the Islay distillery reopen more than 35 years after it was closed.

The detailed plans set out proposals following community engagement and pre-application consultation with key stakeholders.

The distillery’s buildings, which are located on the south coast of the island, have gone through many changes since it first opened in 1824, with the distillery closing and largely being demolished in the 1930s, before being rebuilt in the 1960s.

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Following its most recent closure in 1983 very few of the original buildings remain.

In mid-March 2024 Port Ellen officially reopened in a brand new, carbon neutral site. Visitors can book for a reborn tour, priced at £200 including drams, or an open day, which is free of charge, but doesn't' include whisky tasting.

Rosebank, Falkirk

whisky distilleries opening in Scotland 2024
Rosebank Distillery. Picture: TSPL

Ghost distillery, Rosebank, has reopened after its redevelopment under new owners, Ian Macleod Distillers.

Situated on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the famous distillery lay dormant for a quarter of a century, after it was mothballed in 1993 by former owner UDV (now Diageo) and its maltings were converted into a restaurant.

At the time, it was feared the whisky - which was often referred to as the ‘King of the Lowlands’ – would be gone forever, until Ian Macleod Distillers acquired the Rosebank brand and last remaining stocks in October 2017.

In January 2019 they were granted permission to revive the distillery and have since been putting plans in place to breathe new life into the grounds.

The distillery will be open to the public from June, with tours available to book online.

The Cabrach, Moray

The Cabrach, a remote, upland area in the North East of Scotland, was a once thriving community of over 1,000 residents and a legendary haunt of rebellious Jacobites, illicit distillers and smugglers.

Now, after announcement of multi-million-pound funding in 2021, it will be home to a distillery and heritage centre.

Moves to regenerate the area as a sustainable community have been driven by The Cabrach Trust, who confirmed it secured the £3.5million needed to activate this anticipated project which will be delivered in harmony with the natural environment of the Cabrach.

This historic development is set to open this year as a social enterprise. There will also be an inaugural whisky release: The Feering, this year.

Ones to watch

Machrihanish Distillery, Campbeltown

While this new distillery won’t open this year, but plans have been approved and construction will start in 2025.

The plans for the distillery come from the owners of the Isle of Raasay Distillery, R&B Distillers, who want to add a second single malt whisky brand to their portfolio by building The Machrihanish Distillery to create Campbeltown’s first farm-to-bottle single malt.

Laggan Bay, Islay

Set to be the twelfth distillery on Islay, planning permission for Laggan Bay was submitted in 2022.

The distillery and brewery site covers some two hectares, just opposite Islay’s airport in the centre of Islay, and is situated less than a mile from Islay’s longest beach, the Big Strand in Laggan Bay, from which the distillery takes its name.

As part of the project, The Islay Boys have announced a partnership with family-owned Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd to help bring the new distillery to fruition.

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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