Work starts on Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife

11th July, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

Construction of the new multi-million pound Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife has begun, bringing production back to the “spiritual home” of Scotch whisky for the first time in 500 years.


Lindores Abbey Distillery will bring production back to the “spiritual home” of Scotch whisky

Plans to turn the historic Lindores Abbey into a Scotch whisky distillery were first revealed back in September 2013.

The whisky distilling roots of Lindores Abbey, situated in Newburgh on the north coast of Fife, can be traced back to 1494 when details of the malt duty paid by Friar John Cor was logged in the Exchequer Roll – the first written evidence of whisky distillation in Scotland.

Lindores Abbey, which fell into ruin after it was invaded in 1559, is now under the ownership of the McKenzie-Smith family, who purchased the site in 1913.

Once completed Lindores Abbey Distillery will sit next to the ancient ruins of the 12th century abbey built by the Tironesian Monks who originated from France and brought modern methods of brewing, distilling and horticulture across to the UK.

The distillery is being built by converting and enlarging the original abbey steading, which is over 200-years-old.

Spearheaded by Drew McKenzie-Smith and his wife Helen, Lindores Abbey Distillery will incorporate ancient distilling techniques and ingredients.

Under the guidance of whisky expert Dr Jim Swan, Lindores plans to use specially-selected yeasts, which may include a species used by Friar John Cor, to create its whisky.

The McKenzie-Smiths are planning to open a visitors’ centre on the site and produce a Scotch whisky that will be available by 2023. Ahead of this, Lindores will create and market an aqua vitae spirit.

“To us, the history of Lindores Abbey is just as important as the plans we have to create a distillery,” said Drew McKenzie-Smith. “If it wasn’t for the expertise of the Tironesian monks who came to Scotland in those dark and frightening medieval times we may not have the advanced industry we do today.

He continued: “We’re working closely with various teams to ensure we respect and maintain the historic integrity of this unique site. We believe a whisky distillery and visitor centre will help drive tourists to this part of Fife and, in turn, have a positive impact on the local economy.

Designed by Organic Architects of Helensburgh, Lindores Abbey Distillery will have three copper stills – one wash and two spirit stills – while its design will feature wood and stone from the surrounding area “as much as possible”.

Following “extensive archaeological digs around the abbey ruins”, construction work on Lindores Abbey Distillery is now “well underway”.

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