Up-and-coming Scotch whisky distilleries

29th May, 2018 by Melita Kiely

A new wave of Scotch whisky distilleries is looking to bring a dose of experimentation to the industry. The Spirits Business looks at some of the exciting newcomers – large and small – and their pioneering plans for the category.

Scotch whisky fans were stopped in their tracks last October when news broke that Diageo intends to resurrect cult whisky distilleries Port Ellen and Brora by 2020.

Each site was mothballed in 1983, and since 2001 both brands have been staples of Diageo’s annual and much­-coveted Special Releases series. Diageo’s £35 million (US$46m) investment to breathe new life into the closed distilleries – whose bottles these days sell for big money on auction sites – speaks volumes about the potential that can be seen in Scotch whisky’s future.

But while the big players bring excitement to the category with Scotch whiskies of yore, there’s a new generation of pioneering start-­ups determined to put their stamp on the whisky world. And what an incredibly exciting time it is to be a Scotch whisky producer.

In February this year, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) revealed overall Scotch exports grew in both volume and value terms, hitting £4.36 billion (US$6bn) in 2017, according to HMRC data. Global interest in single malts is rocketing, with exports up by 14.2% last year to £1.17bn. A new class of distillers can, surely, only push those figures up. So what can we expect to see in this new age of distilling?

Over the following pages we profile six pioneering Scotch distilleries and their plans for the future. 

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