Tech-focused InchDairnie Distillery opens doors

18th May, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

Scotch whisky veteran Ian Palmer has launched the Fife-based InchDairnie Distillery, a “contemporary” site that will focus on technology, innovation and energy efficiency.


Ian Palmer has unveiled his new InchDairnie Distillery

Said to represent a “forward-thinking approach to producing malt Scotch whisky”, InchDairnie will have capacity to produce two million litres of whisky in its first year – marking a move away from the recent surge in micro-distilleries.

It is based in the outskirts of Kinglassie, Fife, and will be operated by John Fergus & Co, which was founded by Palmer in 2011.

Following 18 months of construction, the distillery is already producing spirit and intends to release its first single malt whisky in 2029. InchDairnie will also create malt for blending to sell to other distillers, including its “strategic partner” MacDuff International.

“We are fortunate not to be under any commercial pressure to release our whisky so we will wait until the whisky is at its absolute best, which could be in 10, 12 or 15 years time, only time will tell,” said Palmer.

The distillery, which has created 10 new jobs, uses a number of energy-efficient production methods that have been designed to “enhance and innovate” with flavour, allowing the site to reduce waste and save energy.

Flavour innovations

InchDairnie incorporates five flavour innovations to give its whisky a “unique flavour” relating to seasonal barley, mash conversion techniques, yeast, fermentation, and distillation.

The distillery will use rare winter barley, as well as more traditional spring barley from Fife, and will also use a blend of specially created yeast strains.

In addition, the distillery will feature an “unconventional” mash filter and hammer mill, it will experiment with high gravity fermentation to produce a “more flavoursome spirit”, and also uses bespoke stills with double condensers to ensure more copper contact.

InchDairnie’s whisky will be a “contrast” to the typical Lowland style with its “full-bodied and complex” style and “slightly sweet edge”.

“InchDairnie is the culmination of a dream and everything I’ve learnt about whisky-making over the last four decades,” added Plamer. “I’m hugely respectful of whisky-making traditions, but at InchDairnie our vision is to use technical expertise to capture and nurture all of the flavours from the whisky-making process.

“That’s why, alongside traditional ingredients such as water, malted barley and yeast, technology and innovation will be important ingredients in our whisky. The contemporary look of the distillery is designed to reflect our approach.

“A great deal of our time and investment has been focused on ensuring that every piece of equipment and every step of the whisky-making process has been thoroughly researched and fine-tuned to create the best possible spirit.”

The contemporary approach to whisky-making at InchDairnie is reflected in its design, which features a deep grey colour and angular shape.

There are currently no plans to open a visitors’ centre at InchDairnie Distillery.

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