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Reviving a Distillery...Which one??

General chat and talk about whisky.

Reviving a Distillery...Which one??

Postby TheLiquorBaron » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:45 pm

I thought it would be good to see what the community's thoughts are on reviving old distilleries.
I hope to eventually be able to purchase an old distillery and bring it back to life...

What distillery would you want to see brought back from extinction??
Taking into consideration the surrounding history and obviously it had to make a good quality whisky!!
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Postby kildalton » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:50 pm

first name...Port Ellen,Brora, then Glenlochy and why not Rosebank?
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:08 am

Rosebank first because there are so few lowland distilleries though from a business perspective Port Ellen or Brora would make more sense.

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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:18 am

I'm just doing some research now...
Personally I'm leaning towards a lowland distillery...I like the flavour profile, however on saying that, any whisky that is produced from the revived distillery would no doubt be different, even if all the old traditional practices/ingredients are used...so I would probably consider more the history of the site when I think about it...Oh and obviously the finances needed to tackle a project like this.
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Postby kildalton » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:40 am

Considering history, and talking about lowlands Littlemill should not be bad...
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Postby Di Blasi » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:55 am

Yes, Rosebank because the Lowlands need a few more distilleries. Port Ellen would be interesting and exciting because it seems to be so special these days, sought after. And it would be nice to taste how they've changed after all of these years.
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Postby Wave » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:00 am

Distilleries to be brought back from Extinction:

My fantasy distilleries, stills and/or buildings gone
Glenury Royal
Millburn
Port Ellen

Mothballed distilleries
Imperial


Cheers!
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:04 am

Littlemill is way up there on my list!! One of the oldest registered distilleries - Now that's history!!

Problem is most of the buildings are gone aren't they??
Now here is something ironic...
A few nights ago I had a sample of the Littlemill 12yr old distillery bottling...this is the whisky flavour I have been searching for since I started to acquire my tastes for single malts!! Fantastic Malt!!
Since then I have contacted Lochlomond Co. enquiring about both cask purchase and stock purchase of bottlings...just so happens someone is coming out here next month and if time permits we will be getting together for a chat :D
Opportune moment to enquire about Littlemill further?? I think so :D :D
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:04 am

The Littlemill stillhouse was destroyed by fire in September 2004.
http://www.lfw.co.uk/whisky_review/SWR2 ... e22-8.html
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:34 am

Yeah that's what I had read Tim...
The story behind it is a little suspicious...
I find it amazing that developers don't look at the bigger picture...??

Tim did you see my post on SB.com re:Michter's distillery??
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:50 am

People something I have also been pondering is a similar concept to that of Ladybank...
I have established a VIP Group within my business that I could possibly incorporate my concept - Save a Distillery Foundation.

Share your thoughts - after all it would be 'your' whisk(e)y that you would be drinking :D
I could look at 2 parts to the membership...either become a member of the foundation or both.
I will load the VIP Group details on to my webpage - check the link below...
Obviously I would have to develop the 'foundation' but that's only paperwork.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:16 am

Just some further details on the VIP Group...(If anyone is interested :D )

I will be offering all 4 bottles, not just the selection of the 3, to the first 25 members.
I currently have 2 members...and I will ask to see if they would like to make a comment here...

Cheers!!
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:17 am

Imperial
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Re: Reviving a Distillery...Which one??

Postby Whiskana » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:53 am

Bar Items wrote:What distillery would you want to see brought back from extinction??


Brora first, then maybe Port Ellen, Rosebank...
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Postby Dubois » Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:22 am

Port Ellen.
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Postby Bullie » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:34 am

Tough call... But I'd love to see St.Magdalene producing again. And Brora (All buildings are still there, and even some of the inventorys) of course. Port Ellen without a doubt.... Lochside would be nice as well.
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Postby kallaskander » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:44 am

Hi there,

Macallan 8)

Greetings
kallaskander

PS Seriously. Talking to a sales agent from Diageo the other day who I hasten to say is not very high in the chain of comand there, he said that he could imagine that Diageo might reopen one or the other mothballed distillery if the boom goes on.
I recomended Rosebank when he asked what I thought about the idea. I argued on the merits of the malt and the quality of most of the bottlings I know. Not that I can influence decissions made at Diageo but if they hear the same again and again worldwide who knows?

But there are other names one would wish to see coming back to life. It is just that some names are more probable than others and that for some whiskies to come back it takes much harder wishing.
Brora, Glenury Royal, Glenlochy.
In general I can agree that some more Lowlanders would be nice and I would like to bring Campbeltown into the discussion for the same reason.
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Postby bamber » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:26 pm

Glenugie for me - just because I like the taste.

As a business Brora proably - but couldn't Clynelish produce similar stuff if they upped the peat ?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:40 pm

St Magdalene for me as it would make the train journey between Edinburgh and Glasgow more interesting. Or Caledonian to give me something to look at on the way to work each morning (as if the Castle wasn't enough!)
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:43 pm

If it weren't long converted to flats I would say St. Magdalene as well but alas, it would be in name only if it were restarted.

Is there anything left of Glenugie? That's another I'd love to see but closed in 1982/3 I doubt it is possible as it was demolished long ago.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:47 pm

Glenturret!
What that damn bird has done to a geat distillery is beyond redemption! It deserves to be more than a Disney Distillery!

Seriously - I agree with suggestions for Rosebank and St Magdalene. It would make lunchtimes quite pleasurable :D
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Postby vitara7 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:23 pm

the one thing you need to remember is, we are malt whisky fans, we have strong feelings for certain distilleries, but with this type of venture, you have to look at demand. me personally id love to see saint mag or rosebank going again, and would even put my own money down to help it on its way. but with st mg stripped bear and made into posh flats, its out the equation. rosebank would be great to re-open, fantastic malt whisky, but is there enough demand out there now or in the future to keep this one going bottling purly as a single malt? i think now, so the question is, would it be suitable for the blenders in order to keep cash flow going in thos eearly years? i think dieagio answered that themselfs when they opted for glenkinchie as their 'classic malt' for the lowlands, a rubbish whisky imho, but the blenders love the shite. wich is part of the reason so little is bottled, (that and the demand as a single malt isnt there much for glenkinchie)
but look, seriously, if theres going to be a private group of folk looking at getting funds to re-open a GOOD distillery, then contact me, send me a private message or whatever. im more than prepared to put my money where my big gob is.
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Postby ikendal » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:33 pm

but surely you are reviving a name, not necessary recreating the taste. look at bladnoch and excellent whisky closed, sold to raymond (an excellent man) but the whisky now sold, although good is not bladnoch (as of old) but bladnoch new.

too much romance, however romance sells.

just my thoughts
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Postby ikendal » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:34 pm

okay mistaken re bladnoch, but they have satrted distilling and it would be interesting to note if it is similar.

But "opening a new distillery and maybe copying still design would be sufficient" your not really suggesting this are you... the whole flavour developement is a lot more than a reproduction of a still. cask, wormtubs, malt, filtration, etc.

however I do agree the romantic notion of it would sell.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:08 pm

C_I...you are correct in saying it would be better, if considering reviving a distillery, to eliminate the sites which would no longer be available, e.g. as you have noted...[/quote] like Glenury Royal (just a plaque marking its stills), Glen Albyn/Glen Mhor (kick away Curry's), St Magdalene (residents) or Millburn (Slice Inn/Beefeater)[/quote]

However, as Ian and C_I have noted, it may be more realistic, considering both time and finances, to build a new distillery or re-create, if you will.
Re-creating original styled stills, etc., maybe the best way to look at it??

A potential project's site would ideally have all the buildings, or at least the main one's, requiring only a 'spruce' up...
Acquiring equipment and so forth would not be an issue, just the name and site.

C_I,
as far as time and money is concerned...
I am only 30yrs(31 in 3 weeks) old and I'm not married - so all my time and money is just that...mine!! :D LOL

I am hoping to get over to Scotland towards the end of the year and so I will go on a tour of the countryside and see what's available regarding sites. Also I would think that I may have good chances in approaching local councils asking them for funding to revive a site...??
I will also get in touch with Diageo and have a chat regarding my plans.

Oh and what whisky I do end up producing...it will be GOOD WHISKY!! 8)
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:14 am

Just been reading some posts and came across one on Rosebank...
I see that a group had looked into reviving this distillery and that there are people interested in setting up a possible consortium.

From reading the posts on Rosebank and it's current state, I would think that the site is not viable, however if the stills are still available along with any other salvagable equipment, then it may be worthwhile in contacting Diageo.

To anyone who would be interested in getting together with me on this, please contact me!!
Let's get together and make it happen... 8)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:38 pm

This really boils down to what a distillery actually is. That is a philosophical question. Is it the building; the stills; the name; the flavour profile; the staff; the continuity?

If you take away or replace one of these ingredients, is it the same distillery? How many can you take away?

The reality is that "distillery" is not as clear a term as we might think. Reviving an old distillery or starting a new one might be one and the same thing. I wonder how much point there would be in reviving a distillery that was not well known when it was producing. For example, however good Imperial or Glenglassaugh products were, they were largely unknown so the brand name wouldn't count for much. On the other hand, the convenience of having all the buildings and equipment already set up must be worth something. Those two might be a bit roomy, though, for a small business model.

Why not go for a distillery that is in a convenient location (Broxburn?), the size you want, and with a name that conjures up the right image?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:24 pm

Nick - a very relevant point. A "distillery" is, I suggest, an entity greater tan the sum of its parts. Unless a "distillery is re-opened with exactly the same buildings, fixtures, fittings and sufficient original staff, it will be a completely different animal - not any better or worse, just different. To revive a name but change the substance would be folly.
It is a nice romantic idea to re-open all the old distilleries but, at risk of being shot down in flames, if they were that good originally, would they have been closed in the first place?
OK OK - before the howls of derision come flying over the wires, in retrospect, some probably should have been kept going, but remember the market has changed quite a bit since the decisions on closure were made. Places like Rosebank etc may well have been kept open nowadays because there is a stronger market for SMW. At the time of its closure the market may not have justified its salvation.
Who can predict the future? What happens if tastes in emerging markets demand more grain whiskyover the next twenty years? Will smaller distilleries that we love so much be closed because demand for malt whisky, either for blending or single, is less? Market forces will always dictate and whilst no one could really predicted the current resurgence in SMW (still a very small part of the bigger picture), it is questionable if the closed distilleries that we cry for would be any more viable in this day and age! It takes more than a few keen enthusiasts to keep a distillery afloat - it needs a market share.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:09 pm

Gentleman vaild points indeed.

However...this is about reviving a distillery, taking into consideration the 'romantic' history behind the distillery and if the whisky produced was not just good quality but had a good consumer base also, i.e. being well known.

Indeed the whisky would be different to that originally produced, but again(and speaking with reference to myself owning/producing the whisky) the aim would be to get as close to the original flavour, but making certain that the whisky was of good quality also.

Crieftan...I would have to disagree on the original staff as being part of the distillery as an entity, but indeed the stills and worm tubs, etc. play a vitale role as part of the distilleries 'soul'...

It is a nice romantic idea to re-open all the old distilleries but, at risk of being shot down in flames, if they were that good originally, would they have been closed in the first place


Impossible to revive them all, and as you did mention regarding the 'markets'...most distilleries closed were due to financial reasons. I would need to research further, however I don't think any distilleries have been closed down(meaning for good or demolished) now for a few years...most companies now realise that these are still a viable investment and as such just close them down as opposed to demolishing.
I should also point out that many companies have changed directors/owners and as such have new and different directions and objectives, thus decisions made by yesterdays people are very different to today's people and I know the children below us will think differently to what we do now, I mean just take a look at history...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:21 pm

The distilleries that closed didn't have large customer bases - or they wouldn't have closed. They were portfolio distilleries producing mainly blend-fodder. Some made good whisky and others didn't. But I suspect their reputations were all developed after the distilleries had closed (yes, even Port Ellen).
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Postby hpulley » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:59 pm

Nick Brown wrote:The distilleries that closed didn't have large customer bases - or they wouldn't have closed. They were portfolio distilleries producing mainly blend-fodder. Some made good whisky and others didn't. But I suspect their reputations were all developed after the distilleries had closed (yes, even Port Ellen).


Port Ellen had only been open for 15 years when they closed it in 1983. It is older but had already been mothballed since 1927 until it was reopened in 1967. Of all the distilleries that closed in the eighties it was actually one of the least well known and lowest producing over the previous 50 years; it's maltings were new in 1973 which is why they were kept. No whisky other than the big three were well known as single malts at the time; almost all went into blends for the most part.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:05 pm

I know- I was responding to the wish to revive a closed distillery that had had a good customer base and which had been well known. There is no such distillery.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:25 pm

Sorry I should have made it more clear...
Well known or in demand NOW...not in the past

For instance, and this is only an example, littlemill has history but was not well known until now or in demand until now...

So with reference to say Port Ellen...(I'm not fully aware of the history as yet) this is now in demand and is obviously a good whisky so therefore if possible(considering such factors as being able to purchase the distillery and name along with equipment, etc. or if the equipment is no longer available, to have 'replica's' made) this is a distillery of which I refer to on my original question.

Is Bruichladdich not an example to the point/question of this thread?? And Ardbeg?? - I'm am asking as I don't know their full stories, as yet!
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Postby kildalton » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:41 pm

In my opinion it should be very difficult to reopen Port Ellen considering that there, is done the malting for almost the whole of distilleries on Islay,
(I think that such an operation would take place only if the present owners decide to do).
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:47 pm

Again, Port Ellen was only an example.
Diageo would definately not sell this now!!
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