Glenglassaugh Distillery, which reawakened 22 years after being put into mothballs, has celebrated the start of another chapter in its fascinating history - the launch of a brand new visitor centre. Although the distillery near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire has been taking visitors on pre-booked tours since its relaunch in 2009, this is its first dedicated visitor facility.
The centre has been created in what was the former distillery office and revenue and customs office - one of the 'new' buildings which were added to the site in the 1960s. It features a cafe, a tasting room where visitors can enjoy a dram at the end of their tour, and a retail shop where the entire range of Glenglassaugh range can be bought.
Glenglassaugh Distillery managing director Stuart Nickerson says it was evident soon after the distillery recommenced production that a visitor centre was needed.
He adds, "Word quickly got around that we had reopened and because we are just off the main road, a lot of people would come up to the office and ask if they could have a tour or buy whisky. We then introduced a series of pre-bookable tours, which included everything from a fairly standard tour about the history of the distillery and the distilling process, through to The Ultimate Tour which is aimed at the real aficionados as it includes tasting a wide range of single malt whiskies, right up to the 40-year-old single cask which retails at £1,500 per bottle.
"When Glenglassaugh was last open in the 1980s, distilleries were only just realising the potential for visitor centres and the interest in malt whisky, so there wasn't an existing building for us to work with. We could offer the tours for those who wanted to visit, but without a dedicated building we were pretty restricted as to what we could do.
"The solution was to convert the old revenue and customs office into a tasting room, and to knock through into what was the old staff office for the retail area and cafe. We are incredibly proud that all of renovation work and fitting out has been done in-house by our own maintenance team member to a very impressive standard, and we hope that it will really help to improve the overall visitor experience."
The centre has led to the creation of one additional part-time post within the Glenglassaugh staff team. The centre will initially be open from Monday through to Friday. While the Behind the Scenes tour and the Ultimate Tour - both of which are aimed at whisky connoisseurs - still have to be booked in advance, visitors can turn up at the centre for the Revival tour, which runs several times throughout the day.
The opening of the visitor centre is the latest in a series of milestones to be achieved by Glenglassaugh Distillery this year. In March it launched Revival - the first single malt Scotch whisky to be created since production recommenced; it appointed its first brand development manager in May in response to rapid growth in both European and worldwide markets; and just a few weeks ago it launched a series of new single cask bottlings - The Massandra Connection - after signing an exclusive deal with the oldest winery in the Crimea to finish its malt in their wine casks.
Further information about Glenglassaugh Distillery can be found at http://www.glenglassaugh.com. The website also offers an online retail shop where a wide range of single malt Scotch whisky and younger spirit drinks can be purchased. Tours can be booked in advance by calling 01261 842367.