Plans to transform the visitor experience at the Glenkinchie Distillery have been formally submitted.
The plans centre around the renovation and conversion of Glenkinchie’s beautiful, traditional red brick warehouse buildings into a stunning multi-levelled visitor experience, which will include a welcome lounge, retail unit, bar and cocktail making classroom, tasting rooms and a cask draw experience.
Externally, a number of non-original buildings would be removed to allow extensive landscaping to create a beautiful welcome garden in front of the visitor experience.
The East Lothian distillery is one of a number of Diageo distilleries that will see major work undertaken as part the company’s £150m investment in Johnnie Walker and single malt scotch whisky visitor attractions around Scotland.
The Detailed Planning Application to East Lothian Council sets out proposals that will significantly expand and enhance the experience the distillery offers to tourists from around the world.
The submission of formal plans follows community engagement last month as well as pre-application consultation with East Lothian Council and Historic Environment Scotland.
As part of the plan Glenkinchie will be linked to a new global visitor attraction in Edinburgh for Johnnie Walker – the world’s biggest selling Scotch whisky brand. Glenkinchie is a key part of the Johnnie Walker single malt portfolio, providing the light, floral, classic lowland style of single malt for Johnnie Walker scotch whiskies.
If planning permission is successful work would commence in 2019 with planned completion in 2020.
Ramsay Borthwick, Glenkinchie Distillery manager, said: ‘This is a very significant and exciting point on our journey to transform Glenkinchie. We are all incredibly excited about the plans which will surely capture the imagination of Scotch whisky fans of all ages, tastes and experience from around the world.
‘We want to celebrate the distillery’s history and combine this with a new state-of-the-art visitor experience which will not only link us to the new global Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Edinburgh but will establish Glenkinchie as a must-see for tourists in Scotland.’
Glenkinchie Distillery has a long history of association with Johnnie Walker, with stock books from 1894 listing Glenkinchie among the single malts going into the Walker blending inventory.
Whisky from Diageo’s distilleries all over Scotland contribute to Johnnie Walker, but four distilleries – Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish – will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker venue in Edinburgh, representing the ‘four corners of Scotland’ and the regional flavour variations crucial to the art of whisky blending.
Together these sites will create a unique Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland, encouraging visitors to the capital city to also travel to the country’s extraordinary rural communities.
Glenkinchie was founded by local farmers John and George Rate in 1837 but production ceased in 1853. With the rising demand for blended whisky in the second half of the 19th Century, a consortium of brewers, blenders and wine merchants from Edinburgh purchased the distillery in 1881.
The site was rebuilt into its current form in 1890 and reopened as the Glenkinchie Distillery Co Ltd, now at a working capacity of 1,750,000 litres. The company was one of five lowland malt whisky distilleries to form the Scottish Malt Distillers in 1914, alongside Rosebank, St Magdalene, Grange and Clydesdale, before the group was bought by Distillers Company Ltd (which later became Diageo).
Glenkinchie Distillery is one of only six distilleries located in the Lowland region and is located just 30 minutes from Edinburgh.