Whisky distilling will return to Leith with the ‘first purpose-built single malt distillery to be constructed in the capital for over a century’.
The £5m Port of Leith Distillery is the brainchild of two life-long friends from Edinburgh, Ian Stirling and Patrick Fletcher. A planning application is already underway and will be submitted in the next three months.
‘The first step to making whisky is making a beer’, explains Stirling. ‘And as any beer fan will know, there is a whole world of possibilities in that process. We want to play with those possibilities, ferment something special, and then distil a delicious lowland whisky.’
It is hoped the distillery will become a landmark for Leith and plans include an adjacent floating restaurant and bar.
‘The area was once the centre of Edinburgh’s vibrant whisky industry, but consolidation and market downturns led most producers to retreat to rural locations by the later part of the 20th century. Many of the bonded warehouses that lined the shore still exist today as converted flats,’ the team said.
The distillery plans to eventually produce 400,000 (litres pure alcohol) per year. Significant investment has already been committed for the construction phase, pending the successful outcome of the planning process.
‘It took a long time to find the ideal site,’ Fletcher said. ‘Ocean Terminal bought into our vision when we had no money and only a plan. By agreeing to this land deal, they’ve made an enormous contribution to our business and, we hope, to Leith.’