Work starts on Scotland's first vertical distillery in Leith

Image source, Port of Leith Distillery
Image caption,
The Port of Leith Distillery will rise 131ft (40m) above the quayside

Work has begun on Scotland's first vertical distillery.

Foundations have just been laid for The Port of Leith Distillery in Edinburgh, which will be able to produce up to one million bottles of single malt a year.

When it is complete, it will stand 131ft (40m) above the quayside, close to the Royal Yacht Britannia and with views to Edinburgh Castle from its top floor whisky bar.

The £12m distillery is due to open in 2022, creating 50 jobs.

The project is the brainchild of friends, Patrick Fletcher and Ian Stirling.

Mr Stirling said: "The site is not big, around a third of an acre, but the location is phenomenal."

Architects at Threesixty Architecture in Glasgow designed the distillery so it could be built upwards to fit into the small space.

Image source, Port of Leith Distillery
Image caption,
Patrick Fletcher and Ian Stirling are behind the project

The distillery is supporting more than 30 jobs during construction.

Traditionally, distilleries have been built on sites where there is room to put all of the processes on one level.

All the liquid in the fermentation vats (or mash tuns) is heavy and it is simpler and cheaper to keep the operation at ground level.

'Tremendous experience'

At the Port of Leith, however, the small site meant the only way to build was up, with each element of the process stacked on top of each other.

Mr Stirling added: "This freed us up to create a gravity-led whisky making process where the large fermentation vats have been located above the copper stills, allowing the liquid to then flow naturally down to the stills below.

"We have added a double height whisky bar on the top floor and this will give a tremendous experience where whisky fans can wander down from floor to floor and see clearly every step of the production process.

"We never set out to create a vertical distillery, but we did always want to build a modern, landmark home for a new style of Scotch and we hope this is what we will achieve."

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