What Happened to Port Dundas Distillery?

Scotland has been known as the birthplace of whisky for hundreds of years, and we can see why. Scotland has the oldest noted evidence of a distillery. Not only that, but it was once home to hundreds of distilleries, all of which were extremely popular with whisky drinkers.

One of these distilleries was the Port Dundas distillery. In this article, we’ll talk about the Port Dundas distillery and what happened to it.

port dundas distillery

Where is Port Dundas?

Port Dundas is located in Glasgow, Scotland, just one mile from the city centre. It lies west of Sighthill and north of Cowcaddens, with Possilpark and Hamiltonhill to the north-west. 

Why Was the Port Dundas Distillery Built?

In the 18th Century, hundreds of whisky producers decided to open distilleries in Scotland. The Port Dundas Distillery is just one example of this. The location of Port Dundas was chosen because it was the perfect place for bottling whisky. Not only was the vast port of Glasgow nearby, which was good for shipping to the four corners of the world but so were the blending plants. 

Although The Port Dundas Distillery had its ups and downs, it became one of the most popular and best whisky distilleries in the world. It produced exceptional quality malts, both unpeated and peated. However, unfortunately, the distillery was closed in 2011 by Diageo. 

A Brief History of the Port Dundas Distillery

Below is a timeline of the Port Dundas Distillery, the largest distillery in Scotland:

  • 1811 – The Port Dundas distillery opened its doors in the 19th Century. It was built on the highest point in Glasgow and towered over the city. 
  • 1860 – The distillery merged with the Cowlands distillery. This distillery was located just next door to the Port Dundas distillery.
  • 1877 – The DCL group bought the distillery. This group eventually became Diageo.
  • 1885 – The brewery became known as the largest distillery in Scotland thanks to its mixture of pot and column stills. During this time, the demand for scotch whiskey increased, so the distillery had to work flat out to meet consumer demand. 
  • 1902 – Another neighbour of the brewery, Dundashill, was merged with the distillery. At this time, Dundashill was considered the largest producer of Scotch whisky. 
  • 20th Century – The 20th Century was difficult for the Port Dundas Distillery. Two fires occurred, one in 1903 and the other in 1916. These fires destroyed a huge chunk of the brewery. Thankfully, the owners decided to rebuild the distillery once more. 
  • 1940 to 1941 – Many expected the Luftwaffe’s bombing campaign to flatten the brewery, but it survived. When the war was over, the brewery went from strength to strength, producing up to 39 million litres of spirit each year. This was needed for the Johnnie Walker, Haig, and White Horse blended whisky, amongst others. 
  • 2010 – The distillery’s owners chose to focus on its grain whisky production at their partner site, Cameronbridge. Although other distilleries tried to buy Port Dundas, the founders chose to keep it. 
  • 2011 – Unfortunately, despite its popularity, the Port Dundas distillery was closed and demolished in 2011 by its owner, Diageo. When you think of the depressions, wars, recessions, social change and huge whiskey booms and busts in this time, it’s slightly ironic that it closed its doors at a time when Scotch Whisky was more popular than ever. To make this matter even sadder, it would have celebrated its 200th anniversary the year it closed. 

Can You Still Purchase Whisky from the Port Dundas Distillery?

Nowadays, Port Dundas is the pinnacle of ghost whiskies. A ghost whisky is a scotch whiskey whose distillery no longer produces alcohol. Each year, these products become even harder to find. However, the great news is that purchasing a ghost whiskey from the Port Dundas distillery, including their popular blended whisky, is still possible. 

The Port Dundas distillery was one of the best distilleries around until it was closed by its owners in 2011. Despite its closure, whisky lovers can still buy some of the whisky produced here. But, if you want one, you’ll have to be quick; each year, these whiskies become even closer to extinction. 

At UKV International we specialise in discovering fine and rare whisky for our clients. We even can help find whisky casks for investment, as well as storing them in UK-government bonded facilities until they are ready to be bottled and sold.

Contact us today to start your whisky journey!