Hey folks! Happy new year and all that jazz. We here at Edinburgh Whisky Blog hope that you all had a great festive period and that Santa brought you some delightful whisky to drink (responsibly of course) over the holidays. I know that we sure had a good time and much whisky was had by all.
Now that the holidays are over it is time to look at the year ahead and see what it has to bring. Maybe, you have some resolutions and have planned your year out already to the tiniest detail! Or probably, like me, you are just hoping it’s a good year, all goes well and that hopefully a couple of decent drams will be involved at some point.
The new year does give us a good chance to look ahead at the world of whisky and see what maltventures we can look forward to this year. It’s already shaping up to be an absolute doozy! No doubt we shall have plenty of new samples to taste, the conversation on minimum pricing will continue to hit headlines and the effects on the industry by the independence debate in Scotland will probably get some air time. In the business world, most eyes will be looking at Diageo who will continue evolving and adapting, probably complete its acquisition of a stake in United Spirits and possibly even making a cheeky bid for a slice of Beam Global, although unlikely. It will also be interesting to see what impact Remy Cointreau have at Bruichladdich and to see if interest in the industry will continue to grow.
As for us here at EWB? Well, we shall continue to supply you with our general thoughts and occasional capers, whether you want them or not. There will be the annual Blog Birthday Bash, stay tuned for an announcement on that very soon! We will be utilising a new venue for the party but still expect the same shenanigans that appear each year, particularly if Tiger is on the prowl. Chris and the Bear may get engaged… OK made that one up, but it’s always on the cards. We will also be getting excited about the prospect of a few new distilleries opening this year! Diageo and Pernod have stated their intent to maybe open up some new distilleries but there are also a couple of smaller ones, pretty much ready to go. Here are four that I’m looking forward to hearing a little bit more about:
Wolfburn Distillery will be the smallest and most Northern of the distilleries that I will talk about today. Situated in Wick, right at the top of Scotland, it is within 500m of the original Wolfburn distillery established in 1821. The original went out of production in the 1850s and the distillery was in ruins within decades of this. Named after the Wolf burn water source, the distillation is being overseen by former Glenfarclas production manager, Shane Fraser. Plans are to produce about 115,000L a year, mostly unpeated, and production is expected to start as soon as next month!
While Wolfburn ditillery will be the most northern mainland distillery, Annandale Distillery will be Scotland’s closest distillery to the English border. Like Wolfburn this was already a distillery. Renovation started on the site two years ago after David Thompson and Teresa Church bought the land and rights to the distillery in 2007. The first whisky on the site began in 1830 by a man called George Donald. It changed hands various times but it is reckoned that it stopped producing whisky in 1921 after being bought as Johnnie Walkers second distillery in 1893. It is believed to have been used to create a phenolic spirit to add to the blends. Interestingly, and a departure from the usual Lowland style, they intend to produce a peated spirit when production starts, moving on to producing a non-phenolic one as well. Production is expected to start in the summer with approximately 250,000lpa expected. As a peaty man myself, I am very excited by the prospect of this distillery!
Numero three today is based out on the peninsula Ardnamurchan in Lochaber. Adelphi, the independent whisky bottler, is behind the project. Slightly larger than Wolfburn distillery, Arndnamurchan will produce 184,000lpa and will hopefully be up and running by the end of 2013. About 70% of the production will be peated (yay!) and will supposedly be held for at least 6 years before the first bottling takes place. With Adelphi putting a good bit of money and industry know-how behind the project this is one to keep an eye on.
My final New Year distillery is actually a bit of a cheat as it certainly won’t be ready until 2014. However, last week the proposals for the Kingsbarn Distillery in Fife received a grant from the Scottish government that has given it a big boost towards starting up. This has encouraged other investors to hop on board as well. Doug Clement is the man behind the project and he is hoping to start work on the site in summer this year. The actual site for the distillery is pretty close to St Andrews at the East Newhall Farm Steading. Keep an eye out for more news on this throughout the year.
Plenty of stuff to keep us going for the year ahead. Lots and lots of new liquid to ponder and I am sure the rest of the industry will have plenty of magical spirit to keep us busy as well! May the whisky Gods be kind to us all!
Have a good year folks!