Holyrood distillery has embarked upon a £5.5m funding drive in its efforts to bring single malt distilling back to Edinburgh for the first time in 90 years.
Johnston Carmichael is leading the firm’s fundraising efforts, with the money set to go towards renovating the city’s 180-year-old Engine Shed building in St Leonard’s Lane into an 11,969 sq ft distillery and visitor centre.
The distillery is the brainchild of ex-Macallan master distiller David Robertson and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, who founded the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).
Holyrood was granted planning permission by the City of Edinburgh Council last year, with distilling forecast to begin in late 2018. The distillery will concentrate on producing a range of single malt whiskies, liqueurs and other spirits, and anticipates the first bottles of Holyrood whisky will be available to purchase by 2021.
The visitor centre, Holyrood’s ‘Home of Flavour’, will offer guests an immersive sensory and educational experience of the distillery when it opens next year, and will include a tasting room, and a wood and maturation room.
Rob Carpenter, managing director of Holyrood distillery, said: ‘Kelly, David and I all love our spirits and we’re incredibly enthusiastic about making flavour-filled single malts, gins and other cool tipples, as well as creating an experience which allows our visitors to truly immerse themselves in the world of Holyrood.
‘We are confident that by placing a working distillery in the heart of Edinburgh’s capital, with the visitor numbers and cash flow that is expected to provide, we are creating something that is quite different from the typical distillery start-up.
HOLYROOD DISTILLERY NAMES MASTER DISTILLER
Edinburgh’s Holyrood Distillery has named Glasgow Distillery’s Jack Mayo as its master distiller – one of a number of new appointments at the company.
Holyrood distillery team
David Robertson, Bill Farrar, Jack Mayo, Rob Carpenter, Laura Anderson and Hamish Martin
Also joining the project is whisky veteran Bill Farrar, who becomes Holyrood’s sales and marketing director after 30 years in the drinks sector, most recently as managing director, super-premium, at Edrington.
Prior to that, Farrar was Edrington’s group sales and marketing director, with responsibility for single malts Macallan and Highland Park, plus blends The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark.
Mayo spent three years at Glasgow Distillery, with Holyrood highlighting his ‘innovative approach to experimenting with flavour combinations’.
Holyrood also named Laura Anderson as director of finance, another ex-Edrington executive with lengthy experience in a number of roles at the company – most recently as head, super-premium strategy development.
Meanwhile, Hamish Martin, owner of Edinburgh’s Secret Herb Garden and co-founder of wine merchant Inverarity Vaults, will provide advice in his role as a botanicals expert.
Holyrood managing director Rob Carpenter said he was ‘thrilled’ with the appointments, adding: ‘Everyone involved brings with them their own unique talents and, importantly, years of experience working at the very top of the whisky industry.’
The appointments come after Holyrood’s recent launch of a £5.5m funding drive to help create its distillery and visitor centre.
Holyrood is a joint development from ex-Macallan master distiller David Robertson and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).
When it starts production – scheduled for late 2018 – Holyrood will become Edinburgh’s first working malt whisky distillery since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s.
It will produce single malt whisky, gin, liqueurs and other spirits.
BUILD BEGINS ON NEW HOLYROOD DISTILLERY
Construction on Edinburgh’s first new malt distillery for almost 100 years is due to commence next month after its owners secured an additional £5.8m in funding.
Holyrood distillery expects to attract visitors from around the world
The new funding for the Holyrood distillery and visitor centre, situated in the historic Engine Shed on St Leonard’s Lane, comes from 60 private investors from around the world, as well as £1.5m from the Scottish Investment Bank.
The additional funds, raised by investment firm Johnston Carmichael, will be used to transform the 180-year-old building into a malt whisky distillery, with an interactive visitor centre at its heart.
Rob Carpenter, co-founder of Holyrood distillery, said: ‘We can now move on to the fun part – building our new distillery and visitor centre and making delicious spirits.’
Construction will begin on the site in May, with doors opening to the public in spring 2019.
Carpenter added: ‘We want our customers to be our guides, helping us shape and build the spirits and flavours that they most enjoy.
‘It’s a new collaborative approach to spirit production that we are all truly excited about and one which we believe offers something quite different from other distilleries.’
The distillery is the brainchild of Rob and Kelly Carpenter, co-founders of SMWS Canada, and former Macallan master distiller David Robertson.
It will become the first to produce single malt whisky in the city of Edinburgh since Glen Sciennes closed in 1925.
Holyrood will also produce a range of gins, liqueurs and other spirits.
The site is one of three new malt whisky distilleries planned for the city, joining the Port of Leith project and a return for John Crabbie & Co to Edinburgh.
LEASES CUSTOMISED WHISKY CASKS
Holyrood distillery in Edinburgh is making 100 of its first casks available to the public to buy, while allowing them to customise the flavour of their whisky.
Cask buyers will take part in a ‘flavour consultation’ with head distiller Jack Mayo and co-founder David Robertson, which will determine how long the barley is roasted for, which yeast will be used during fermentation, the ‘distillation approach’ and the type of cask used to mature the whisky.
Robertson said: ‘Normally, if you invest in buying a cask of whisky from a distillery, you are limited to perhaps a choice of one or two cask types, but we’re flipping things on their head and giving buyers the chance to design the flavour.
‘By working with me and Jack, they can have a hand in each step of the whisky’s journey and be in control of shaping how the whisky tastes.’
Limited to only 100 casks, the distillery is offering three sizes – a barrel (200 litres) priced at £4,500, a hogshead (250 litres) priced at £5,500 and a butt (500 litres) at £10,500.
All production, bottling and storage costs for up to 10 years are included in the price.
Holyrood is one of a trio of new or under-construction malt whisky distilleries in the city, including ‘vertical distillery’ project Port of Leith and the return of the John Crabbie & Co whisky brand to Edinburgh.
Holyrood distillery is set to open its doors to the public from July.
Edinburgh's Holyrood Distillery announces open date
Holyrood Distillery, which will be the first single malt whisky distillery in the centre of Edinburgh for almost 100 years, will open on 30 July.
The distillery will produce single malt whisky alongside a range of gins and gin liqueurs and has been built in a former railway goods shed dating back to 1831.
“It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point, and to be able to bring back single malt whisky back to the heart of Edinburgh for the first time in almost 100 years is a true privilege,” said Carpenter.
The distillery is located on the edge of Holyrood Park in the centre of the city and aims to offer a major visitor attraction for both tourists and locals.
Holyrood Distillery has been founded by Rob Carpenter, who founded the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, alongside co-founder David Robertson.
Spirit production will be handled by distillery manager Jack Mayo, previously of The Glasgow Distillery, alongside distillers Ollie Salvesen and Elizabeth Machin.
Debs Newman, Holyrood’s visitor experience director, added: “Today is a big day for us as we open up our bookings for our range of tours. Offering great tours for our visitors is an integral part of the distillery design, and there are a range of tours available to visitors to suit all levels of interest, with even more variety to come in future.
“Given our location in the centre of Edinburgh, we’re within easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions so we’re ready to welcome everyone, from locals to tourists, to explore what we have created and the amazing world of flavour in both whisky and gin.”
Bookings for Holyrood’s range of daily guided distillery tours are now open via holyrooddistillery.co.uk with tickets for adults starting at £14.