Production rises

Distillery invests seven-figure sum to boost capacity

Installing the washback at Kingsbarns Distillery

A family-owned distillery near St Andrews has launched a multi-million-pound programme of investment to significantly increase production and capacity.

Kingsbarns Distillery at East Neuk has installed a 20,000 litre washback to boost distillation output by more than 40% and has begun work on a major heat recovery system that will cut energy use.

Work is also underway at Glenrothes that will enable the company to store substantially more spirit each year to meet future demand for its Lowland single malts.

William Wemyss, founder of parent company Wemyss Family Spirits, said the multi-phase seven figure investment underscores Kingsbarns’ ambition and growth potential.

He said: “We’ve developed a real foothold in the market for Lowland whiskies and now need to substantially increase our stocks of maturing spirit to meet the thirst for this delicate, fruit-forward malt.

“As the distillery approaches its 10th anniversary, this expansion will allow us to ramp up production while gaining better control over specialised maturation and bottling when we start releasing 10 and 12 year-old aged expressions over the coming years.”

Manufactured and installed by Clyde Associated Engineers offering equipment and servicing for fluid handling systems, the washback is a large vessel used in the fermentation phase of whisky production, where the ingredients are combined. At 5.15m tall its installation required an entire side wall of the distillery to be removed.

The new heat recovery system with a wash charging tank and heat exchanger allows heat from previous distillation runs to be captured and reused resulting in a notable reduction in energy use.

Peter Holroyd, Kingsbarns Distillery manager, said the expansion will be carefully integrated to maintain the distillery’s unique spirit character. He added: “While vastly increasing our scale, it’s critically important these changes don’t alter the fruity, elegant house style our team has diligently created.”

Ground has been broken on the warehouses in Glenrothes, with the upgraded production setup expected to be operational by mid-2024. The first spirit laid down under the expanded distillery will be earmarked for milestone 10th anniversary releases starting in 2025.

The programme of expansion follows the spirits business committing to meet net zero targets by phasing out its presentation boxes and cartons, saving over a tonne of carbon each year.

Established in 2014, Kingsbarns Distillery is part of the independent Wemyss Family Spirits portfolio including the Wemyss Malts range and Darnley’s Gin.



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