The only way is up as Port of Leith Distillery is completed

The UK’s first vertical distillery, Port of Leith, has been completed ahead of opening next month.

More than a decade since the idea for the distillery was conceived by wine merchant Ian Stirling and finance director Paddy Fletcher the £12m nine-storey distillery is finished and is now taking bookings for tours ahead of welcoming guests on 11 October. 

Over the course of 90 minutes whisky fans will be guided through the story of the distillery’s unlikely conception and fill their own miniature bottle of new make spirit.

Guests will taste their way through the distillery’s production process in its purpose built Quality Control Tasting Laboratory.

The distillery is creating up to 50 long term local jobs, with the capacity to produce one million bottles of whisky per year.

‘Building a distillery of our own has been an ambition of Paddy and mine for over 10 years so to see the project finally come to fruition is a surreal moment for us,’ said Ian.

‘We never set out to build a vertical distillery – the shape and size of the building is a product of the tiny site we were able to secure.

‘We wedged our distillery tower into Edinburgh’s historic harbour to make our building as accessible as possible to people who, like us, love whisky.

‘We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the Port of Leith tour as special as we possibly can and look forward to welcoming fans across the globe to a whisky experience like no other.’

Port of Leith is set to be the biggest tourist attraction to be built in Leith for decades, with a projected 25,000 visitors in its first year, increasing to 160,000 by 2025.

Reservations are now also available for the top floor mezzanine bar with panoramic 360 views over the city, a floor to ceiling back whisky bar and a menu of small plates.

‘Coming from Edinburgh, we were always confused as to why there were no single malt distilleries operating in the city,’ Paddy said. 

‘Being able to build something modern and different has been an enormous treat; hopefully it will encourage people to take a second look at Scotch whisky as there’s huge amounts of innovation and excitement going on within the industry.’

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.

Don’t miss the October issue of Scottish Field magazine.