Port Dundas Distillery


The Port Dundas area of Glasgow was once home to two major distilleries, which merged in the 1860s to become the Port Dundas Distillery. The first had opened in 1811, founded by Daniel McFarlane and was named after its location, with the second, Cowlairs, opening two years later under the ownership of Brown, Gourlie & Co. Both distilleries had Coffey stills installed for the production of grain whisky in 1845.

Fifteen years later the decision was taken to merge the two into one Port Dundas Distillery and in 1877 it became one of the founding members of the grain distillers’ conglomerate DCL. The merger helped turn Port Dundas into the biggest distillery in the country, with three Coffey stills and five pot stills and a production capacity of more than two million gallons a year.

By 1802 the distillery had also incorporated neighbouring Dundashill, which was at the time the biggest pot still distillery in the world as well as having a cooperage and a piggery. However, disaster struck a year later when Port Dundas was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and reopened ten years later, only for another fire in 1916 to cause yet more damage.

The distillery was closed during the Second World War, but continued to be a major player in the whisky market afterwards, producing grain whisky used in blends from the likes of Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell’s and Black & White. In the 1970s there was a major modernisation overhaul at Port Dundas with the addition of a new grain intake, spirit store, still house, boiler house and dark grains plant.

Into the 21st Century, it was still producing up to 39 million litres of spirit a year but the decision was taken in 2010 by owners Diageo to shut down Port Dundas Distillery, shifting production to Cameron Bridge and the North British Distillery. The site was demolished in 2011, bringing to an end almost a century of whisky production.

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