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Top 10 most popular whisky distilleries

Whisky experts have crunched the data and discovered that these are the favourite whisky distilleries in the UK and Ireland.

Arbikie distillation
The Cask Connoisseur has ranked the top 10 whisky distilleries in the UK and Ireland (pictured: Arbikie)

To rank the 10 most popular whisky distilleries in the UK and Ireland, The Cask Connoisseur researched 231 whisky distilleries across the nations.

The Cask Connoisseur is run by Luke Slater, beer connoisseur, Chris Walster, whisky connoisseur, and Isobel Walster, marketing connoisseur.

For the ranking, the founders looked at the number of Google ratings and reviews, the number of Tripadvisor ratings and reviews, and social media metrics covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

If data was unavailable, a score of 0 was given.

Each distillery was given a total score out of 2,310, representing its ‘distillery popularity index’.

The data was compiled in July 2023 – but which distillery came out as the most popular? Scroll down to find out.

10. Teeling Distillery, Republic of Ireland

Teeling DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 1,793

Teeling opened its distillery in June 2015, which was the first to be built in Dublin in 125 years. In 2018, the first cask of single pot still whiskey distilled and aged at the site was ready for bottling, and was launched as a limited edition release in August that year, before the first commercial run came to market that October.

9. Holyrood Distillery, Scotland

Holyrood DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 1,813.5

Ninth place was awarded to Edinburgh-based Holyrood, which launched its new cask programme last year, inspired by the Scottish capital’s ‘smoky past’.

8. Arbikie Distillery, Scotland

ArbikieDistillery popularity index: 1,827.5

Sustainability has been at the heart of Arbikie’s ethos since the distillery opened in 2015. Last year, the Scottish spirits producer became the first distillery to be powered entirely by green hydrogen.

7. Spirit of Yorkshire, England

Spirit of YorkshireDistillery popularity index: 1,828

English whisky has been at the core of this distillery’s DNA since it opened in 2017. Based in the village of Hunmanby in North Yorkshire, the ‘grain-to-glass’ producer is an extension of Wold Top Brewery, where milling, mashing and fermentation operations are based, creating the alcohol wash for the whisky.

6. Micil Distillery, Republic of Ireland

Micil DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 1,843.5

Galway-based Micil Distillery made its UK debut earlier this year. The distillery’s portfolio includes gin made with wild flowers and herbs from Connemara on Ireland’s west coast; poitín produced with 100% Irish malted grain; and whiskey created using local peat.

5. Penderyn Distillery, Wales

Penderyn LlandudnoDistillery popularity index: 1,869.5

Welsh whisky producer Penderyn has been an unstoppable force, and announced it would open a third production site in Swansea last year. The news followed Penderyn’s expansion into Llandudno (pictured) in north Wales in 2021, and the original distillery and headquarters in the Brecon Beacons.

4. Bruichladdich Distillery, Scotland

Bruichladdich-DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 1,880

Islay-based Bruichladdich was the first whisky and gin distiller to secure B Corp certification. As part of its sustainable efforts, Bruichladdich has set aside land to research sustainable agriculture and intends to de-carbonise its operations by 2025.

3. Isle of Raasay Distillery, Scotland

Raasay-DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 1,937

Situated on the remote island of Raasay, the distillery bottled the first legal whisky from the Hebridean island in 2020. Last year, the distillery’s founders set their sights further afield, and submitted a planning application to build a single malt whisky distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland.

2. Kilchoman Distillery, Scotland

KilchomanDistillery popularity index: 1,968

Another distillery located on Islay, Kilchoman has pumped some serious money into growing its production in recent years. In 2022, the distillery secured a £22.5 million (US$30.4m) funding package to expand its site and grow the brand globally. But more recently, the company was granted permission to build a rum distillery in Barbados.

1. Cotswolds Distillery, England

Cotswolds-DistilleryDistillery popularity index: 2,159

Taking the top position in the ranking is English spirits producer the Cotswolds Distillery. The last couple of years have been reflective of the distillery’s rising popularity. At the beginning of 2022, the distillery revealed ‘significant’ expansion plans in its goal to become the biggest English whisky producer. Then in April this year, Berry Bros & Rudd acquired a minority stake in the distillery for an undisclosed amount. It certainly makes the Cotswolds Distillery one to watch in the future.

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