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Issue 90 - Up on the hill

Whisky Magazine Issue 90
September 2010

 

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Up on the hill

Gavin D. Smith charts the fortunes of Port Dundas.

In the last issue we focused on Tamdhu, the latest Scotch malt distillery to close, and this time around we turn the spotlight on the latest grain distilling casualty, Port Dundas.

While Tamdhu remains mothballed, and could recommence distilling at some future date, there is no such hope for the Glasgow grain facility, where the last cask was filled in April of this year.

The 21-acre site is to be cleared and sold off by owners Diageo for future development.

Along with the distillery, the neighbouring Dundashill Cooperage has also closed, leading to a net loss of 140 jobs, but some Port Dundas staff have moved to Diageo's Cameronbridge grain distillery in Fife, which has been progressively enlarged and upgraded. Similarly, some cooperage staff members have transferred to the Carsebridge Cooperage in Central Scotland, which will continue to operate until Diageo's new £9 million coopering hub at nearby Cambus is operational next summer. Both Carsebridge and Cambus were once important grain distilling centres for the old Distillers Company Ltd, closing in 1983 and 1993 respectively.

The demise of Port Dundas distillery brings to the end a whisky-making heritage that began in 1811, when a distillery was established in the vicinity by Daniel McFarlane & Co.

Two years later, a second distillery was built close by for Brown, Gourlay & Co.

From March 1845 onwards, both distilleries ran Coffey stills and produced grain spirit, though McFarlane's distillery continued to be equip...

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