East Lothian's Glenkinchie Distillery reopens following multi-million pound revamp

The first of Johnnie Walker’s four corner distilleries will reopen this week in East Lothian after a major regeneration which is part of a £185million investment in Scotch whisky experiences by leading distiller Diageo.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 4:45 pm

Glenkinchie Distillery, the lowland home of Johnnie Walker in East Lothian, is in an area famed as the garden of Scotland for its quality food and drink produce.

The visitor attraction, which has been having an ongoing revamp for the past two years, is centred around a beautifully landscaped garden carefully curated to reflect the stunning local rural environment – and an extraordinary immersive guest experience in the distillery’s traditional Victorian red brick warehouses.

The newly revamped premise combines the distillery’s history with modern flair as visitors are taken on a tour to tantalise the senses on a journey of discovery of the flavours of Glenkinchie’s whisky, which showcase the natural wonders of Scotland’s lowland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Ramsay Borthwick, Distillery Manager and his dog Skyelar mark the opening of the new Glenkinchie Distillery visitor experience in East Lothian, by unveiling a new Striding Man statue featuring historic distillery dog, Bruce. He is joined by Edinburgh-based artist Angela Johnston, who created the statue design.

Receiving top marks for their sustainability, Glenkinchie Distillery showcase the journey of their whisky from plants to glass, while making efforts to give back to the stunning natural scenery around them.

The visitors tour also showcases one of the most important element of their whisky brand - the people who make it and those working for the distillery who are passionate about it.

Guests will hear about the intriguing history of Glenkinchie Distillery and Johnnie Walker’s relationship before testing their senses in a stunning sensory room where they will build on the flavours that make up the unique taste of their whisky.

They will then travel through the Victorian distillery house before stopping into the modern tasting rooms and bar to enjoy refreshments.

The visitor experience has a refreshed shop and bar area and showcases the natural beauty of the garden of Scotland

Designed to intrigue whisky lovers and those who wish to learn more about the spirit alike, the relaunched site presents the entrepreneurial spirit Johnnie Walker has always been known for - combining both their tradition, and the innovative direction they are heading towards.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Brand Homes for Diageo in Scotland, officially declared the new visitor experience open with the ceremonial planting of a tree to complete the garden and to represent the future growth of Scotch whisky and tourism.

She said: “The opening of the wonderful new visitor experience and garden at Glenkinchie is the first step in our long-term £185million investment in whisky tourism in Scotland.

“We are acutely aware of the difficult times many people are going through, particularly our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sector across Scotland. We know there’s a long way to go and a lot of uncertainty ahead. Still, we believe in the resilience of our business and our communities, and we will be doing all we can through our investment to sow the seeds of recovery and future growth.”

Glenkinchie is the first of the four corner distilleries to reopen following their revamp

Ramsay Borthwick, Glenkinchie Distillery Manager, said: “Glenkinchie will give people a thrilling first taste of the new visitor experiences we are creating across Scotland.

“We will be offering people an experience like no other distillery in Scotland at Glenkinchie and that will be followed as we transform Clynelish, Cardhu and Caol Ila over the coming months, and as we build towards the opening of our global Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction in Edinburgh next summer.”

Glenkinchie will open to the public on Thursday October 29 and tours can be booked at the Glenkinchie Distillery website.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.