Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery in 90 years reaches fundraising target

The Holyrood Distillery, a new distillery in the heart of Edinburgh, has reached its £5.8m fundraising target, with construction now set to begin in May or June.

Glass of scotch whiskey served with ice

Since the closure of the Glenn Sciennes distillery in 1925, there has been no single malt whisky distillery in Edinburgh. Now a team of big-hitters in the Scotch industry are on track to build a new distillery in the heart of Scotland’s capital.

The Holyrood Distillery will be based in former railway building the Engine Shed, a 15 minute walk from the Royal Mile. It is a joint venture by David Robertson, former Master Distiller for The Macallan, and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

The trio met in 2004 when Robertson was running a whisky-tasting presentation, and they’ve been looking to build a new brewery in Edinburgh for three years. Their year-long, £5.8m fundraising drive has received support from 60 private investors from around the world, along with a £1.5m sum from Scottish Investment Bank, the investing arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The distillery will feature a visitor experience, taking tourists behind the scenes of Scotland’s whisky heritage. Co-founder David Robertson said: “Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK after London. It felt like it was a fantastic tourist opportunity. Lots of people are interested in whisky, and they don’t always have the time to go up to the Highlands.”

Head distiller Jack Mayo is currently working on prototypes for gin and gin-based liqueurs. Construction will begin in May or June this year and the distillery hopes to be open its doors by June 2019.

Robertson said: “Typically, when you’re running a distillery you’re asked to make the same spirit year after year – to create something that has continuity. We’ve essentially got a blank sheet of paper. We can create different flavours using different recipes, different raw materials and different ways of processing to make a kaleidoscopic range of different tastes, textures and aromas.”

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, the distillery’s main investor, said: “ Scottish Enterprise welcomes the development of the new distillery and visitor experience in Scotland’s capital. Tourism supports over 30,000 jobs in Edinburgh with over £1m per day being spent on food & drink. This will be a positive addition to the city’s food & drink sector whilst enhancing its tourism offering.”


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