South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine paid a visit to Scotland’s newest distillery this week. Annandale distillery filled its first cask in almost 100 years last November.
Closed after WW1, it was restored and reopened last year by Professor David Thomson and his wife Teresa Church, using local labour, craftsmen and materials wherever possible.
The £10.5 million development has employed 16 people in the region with plans to recruit additional staff for peak tourism seasons.
Ms McAlpine said:
“The distillery is not a ‘craft’ scale operation, it will produce significant volumes of malt. But it uses craftsmanship in its whisky making process. For example the washbacks were all hand made with Douglas Fir. The stills are crafted by Forsyth Coppersmiths of Rothes. The solid oak doors, furniture and sills are by Kirkcudbright based wood designers Ian and Claire Cameron-Smith. The ‘Wee Chieftan’ boiler was supplied by Cochranes of Newbie, Annan, just down the road. The pinkish-red sandstone used in the original buildings is unique to the area. In order to get an exact match with the existing buildings, it was sourced from a tumbling down walled garden on the nearby Castlemilk Estate.
“The whisky that will eventually be produced is inspired by two famous locals. ‘Man o Words’ is unpeated and named after the one time Dumfriesshire exciseman, Robert Burns. ‘Man o Sword’ is inspired by the Earl of Annandale and warrior king, Robert the Bruce. The distillery is now selling casks.
“The visitor centre will open at Easter. As well as viewing the working distillery, visitors can view the original still room beneath the cobbled courtyard. It was excavated by Glasgow University archaeologists who described it as unique. I predict great things ahead for Annandale, the First Distillery in Scotland.”