A project ten years in the making, the Port of Leith Distillery will feature two copper stills with the capacity to produce up to a million bottles of single malt a year.
The project will feature a top floor double height whisky bar with views to Edinburgh Castle.
Co-founder Ian Stirling said: “We have always been passionate about whisky and it’s been a long-held dream for us to create an amazing, modern Scotch whisky distillery in our home city.
“The catalyst was finding the location – we were approached by site owners Ocean Terminal and we could immediately see the potential. The site is not big – around a third of an acre – but the location is phenomenal, and we worked closely with Threesixty Architecture in Glasgow to develop the design.”
The size of the plot influenced the design of The Port of Leith Distillery, which is set to be Scotland’s ‘first vertical distillery’ according to the business.
Support from industry
Set to open in 2022, the distillery has received support from members of the whisky industry – including two unnamed drinks industry chief executives.
The site is being built by specialist Scottish firms including constructors Colorado Group – which built Raasay and Kingsbarns distilleries – and process engineers Allen Associates.
The mash tuns and tanks will be by LH Stainless, whilst the copper stills are already being hand-crafted by the Speyside Copper Works in Elgin.
“Our ambition is to create an outstanding new style of Scotch using a modern approach, based on years of research we have already undertaken – and building on the remarkable heritage of the historic whisky district of Leith,” Stirling added.
Sherry and gin success
However, co-founder Patrick Fletcher described the new distillery as being less crucial to the company’s plans, thanks to the recent success of its Oloroso sherry and Lind & Lime Gin through channels.
“Lockdown had an impact on our build programme and of course has made us look hard at our tourism projections, but in contrast Lind & Lime online has flourished,” Fletcher continued.
“We are now selling in 14 markets worldwide and have just been selected as one of John Lewis’s ‘top gifts for Christmas’, plus we have just launched our own tawny port for the festive market.”
Meanwhile – earlier this autumn – US tariffs wiped £300m off Scotch whisky sales, with losses set to grow as it emerged they would be kept in place for what is one of Scotland's staple exports.