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Whisky project

Foundations laid for first vertical distillery

Going up: the waterside distillery

Work has begun on Scotland’s first vertical whisky distillery, the £12 million brainchild of two boyhood friends.

Foundations have been laid for The Port of Leith Distillery which will rise 40 metres above the quayside a stone’s throw from the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The flagship distillery – due to open in 2022 – will feature a top floor double height whisky bar, with views to Edinburgh Castle, two copper stills and the capacity to produce up to million bottles of single malt a year.

It is being developed by Patrick Fletcher and his friend Ian Stirling who said: “It began ten years ago as a mad idea over a dram when we were working together in London and it grew from there.

“The catalyst was finding the location – we were approached by site owners Ocean Terminal and we could immediately see the potential.

‘Mad idea’: Ian Stirling and Patrick Fletcher

“The site is not big – around a third of an acre – but the location is phenomenal, and we worked closely with Threesixty Architecture in Glasgow to develop the design.”

The project is funded by a range of international private investors and whisky fans, including two unnamed drinks industry CEOs, and is being built by specialist Scottish firms including constructors Colorado Group (which built Raasay and Kingsbarns distilleries) and process engineers Allen Associates.

The mash tuns and tanks will be by LH Stainless, whilst the copper stills are already being hand-crafted by the Speyside Copper Works in Elgin.

The distillery is supporting more than 30 jobs during construction – including six staff in the distillery team – and will create around 50 long-term jobs.

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