Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery for 90 years completes £5.8m fundraise

Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery for 90 years has successfully completed a £5.8m funding drive to help fund the creation of a new distillery and visitor experience, spanning 11,969 sq ft, in the heart of Scotland’s capital.

Led by Johnston Carmichael, the successful fundraising marks a pivotal milestone in the distillery’s development, following the City of Edinburgh Council’s decision in 2017 to approve development of the historic Engine Shed building and site on St Leonard’s Lane into a distillery and visitor centre. Holyrood Distillery will begin construction on the site in May, with the aim of opening its doors to the public in spring 2019.

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The new funding comprises investments from 60 private investors from around the world and £1.5m from the Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm. The funds will be used to renovate the 180-year old City-owned building, purchase and install equipment, create the visitor experience and provide working capital to cover the early costs of start-up and production, ultimately creating 35 new jobs in the capital.

Rob Carpenter, Founder, Holyrood Distillery said:  “With a lot of hard work and effort by the whole team, and working with the supportive and highly professional team at Scottish Investment Bank, we have reached our fundraising target, allowing us to bring the distillery to life. We can now move on to the fun part – building our new distillery and visitor centre and making delicious spirits. 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.”

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said:  “Scottish Enterprise welcomes the development of this new distillery and visitor experience in Scotland’s capital.  Tourism supports over 30,000 jobs in Edinburgh with over £1m per day being spent on food & drink.  This will be a positive addition to the city’s food & drink sector whilst enhancing its tourism offering.  We look forward to helping the company deliver its growth plans.”

A joint development by David Robertson, former Master Distiller for The Macallan, and Rob and Kelly Carpenter, founders of the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Holyrood Distillery will be Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery since Glen Sciennes closed in the 1920s.

Under the guidance of Head Distiller, Jack Mayo, the distillery will produce a range of single malts, gins, liqueurs and other spirits. Holyrood’s progressive approach to playing with flavours, ingredients, distilling processes and maturation will set it apart. This ‘flavour first’ focus will be brought to life in a matter of months with prototype gins and liqueurs being made available for testing.

The visitor centre aims to provide a totally new kind of distillery visitor experience, immersing guests in the flavour sensations of Holyrood’s range of spirits.

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