The original Annandale Distillery was born in 1836 by George Donald. The founder had been planning to open it for six years and chose a site in a wooded hollow by the River Annan.
Using barley grown on-site and peat dug from the nearby Creca Moss, the whisky he produced was exceptionally peaty and smoky. Donald and his family ran the distillery until 1883 when it was purchased by the Johnnie Walker company, who ran it until it closed permanently in 1918.
The closure of Annandale Distillery meant the region was left with very few active distilleries and none in Annandale until Prof David Thomson and Teresa Church founded the Annandale Distillery Company and purchased the site in 2007.
A year later, the distillery received a grant of £150,000 from the Regional Selective Assistance support as part of a £10.5m investment that allowed work to begin to restore and eventually reopen it.
This happened in 2014 when the Annandale Visitor Centre opened and the first casks were distilled. As a sign of the significance of this event, the first cask of unpeated whisky was put on sale for £1m while barrel number eight – the Chinese lucky number – was on sale for £888,000 to appeal to Chinese investors.
Fittingly, a descendent of George Donald works at the present-day Annandale Distillery.