Edinburgh distilleries: Historic moment for £12m Port of Leith Distillery as attraction prepares to open
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An innovative new Edinburgh distillery is marking an “historic moment” as it prepares to open. Stills have been installed at Port of Leith Distillery – the UK’s first vertical distillery – which has been described as the biggest tourist attraction to be built in Leith for decades. With a projected 25,000 visitors expected in its first year, the distillery is due to open in summer 2023 at the site of an old biscuit factory.
The installation of the two hand-crafted copper stills (a 7,000 litre wash still and a 5,000 litre spirit still) from The Speyside Copper Works in Elgin is the latest milestone for the £12m nine-storey distillery, which will offer tours and tastings, as well as a top floor mezzanine bar with panoramic views of Leith and wider Edinburgh. Owners say the attraction is creating up to 50 long term local jobs, with the capacity to produce one million bottles of whisky a year, through its energy-saving gravitational distilling system.
Ian Stirling, co-founder of Port of Leith Distillery, said: “For much of the 19th and 20th century, Leith was the unofficial capital of Scotch Whisky - making it the perfect place to build a new industrial landmark like the Port of Leith Distillery; an honest and modern piece of architecture that reflects our new and innovative approach to production. Installing our stills brings us one step closer to our summer distillery opening and welcoming tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world to come and experience a UK first.”
Port of Leith Distillery is the latest long term investment in Leith by co-owners and lifelong friends Ian Stirling and Paddy Fletcher, following the opening of the new Lind & Lime Gin Distillery in May 2022, a brand they launched in 2018 from an industrial unit. The eco-friendly gin distillery – which is powered by 100% green electricity – has since welcomed more than 6,000 visitors to its tasting, bottling and cocktail making tours.