Whisky Distilling has Officially returned to Leith

The UK’s first vertical distillery, Port of Leith, has officially started production in a milestone moment for the more than £12m,  decade-long project officially marking the return of whisky distilling to Leith.

Port of Leith’s first new make spirit was distilled this week, and will be experimented with over the coming months to develop a desired profile for its future whisky reflective of its pioneering approach at the vanguard of the new wave of Scotch.

The distillery has invited Scotch fans to be part of its whisky making journey from new make spirit to single malt Scotch whisky by joining Port of Leith’s Quality Control Division with an annual sample each year from maturing casks and genuinely get involved through progress tastings to see how the spirit is developing.


Vaibhav Sood, Head of Whisky at  The Port of Leith Distillery said:

“Port of Leith Distillery stands out for its innovative vertical design, presenting both challenges and promising opportunities for our operation. We have been experimenting with every stage of the production process – from yeast strains and fermentation techniques, to the careful selection of perfect casks to nurture our spirit – to fine tune our desired taste profile and create a whisky as unique as the distillery it’s from.”

After opening its doors in October 2023, Port of Leith currently offers a tour and tasting experience and top floor mezzanine bar, a one of a kind space boasting panoramic 360 views over Edinburgh, a floor to ceiling back whisky bar and a menu of small plates designed to showcase Scotland’s world class ingredients.

At the forefront of Leith’s wider regeneration and the new wave of Scotch whisky distilleries, Port of Leith is on track to welcome 25,000 visitors in its first year. It’s the biggest tourist destination to be built in Leith for decades.

Ian Stirling, Co-Founder of Port of Leith Distillery added:

“We stepped into our distillery this week to find the whole place smelling of mashing and fermentation. More than any other moment in the incredible journey of the last 10 years, this was the moment our improbable dream became a reality. “We are proud to be part of the new wave of Scotch whisky producers making the world’s most remarkable spirit. The dream that emerged in a back garden in 2013 was to create a whisky both we and Scotland could be proud of; nothing now stands in our way.”The distillery is creating up to 50 long term local jobs, with the capacity to produce one million bottles of whisky per year.

Priced at £26 per person, Port of Leith Distillery tours run daily from Wednesday to Sunday. They can be booked online here. The Port of Leith Distillery Bar can be booked separately online here. 

Tags: LeithWhisky distilling


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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