Whisky sunshine in Leith

The historic port of Leith in Edinburgh will reclaim its role as a centre for whisky in 2020, as two distilleries step up their production of the spirit in the area. And the opening of the John Crabbie Distillery will re-establish one of the port’s most famous sons as a producer of quality malt whisky.

Once a rough and dangerous port made up of bonded whisky warehouses and wild taverns, Leith was at the forefront on Scotch whisky’s boom years, exporting blended whisky to the world, along with Glasgow on the West coast. And it imported a wide range of products including spices.

John Crabbie became famous for the ginger wine and ginger ales, but he was also producer of whisky. In recent years the company which owns the brand, Halewood Wine and Spirits, has been re-establishing the  John Crabbie name, and has released single malt whisky under the Crabbie name. Now the company has gone step further with the establishment of a new distillery in Leith. It is costing the company more than £7 million and is  very close to John Crabbie’s original premises at Yardheads, Great Junction Street.

Nor is John Crabbie the only new distillery coming to the area. Two entrepreneurs are bringing their long held ambition to life in 2020 by opening the Port of Leith Distillery, a vertical distillery not unlike the Swedish distillery Mackmyra.

The team behind the distillery is also taking a novel approach to production by selling sherry from the bodega it will use to source sherry casks for whisky production.

The two distilleries will join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s famous Vaults premises in the port area, which has been turned in to a vibrant and exclusive tourist destination made up of stylish restaurants.

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