Brora Distillery reopened and first cask filled
After 38 years of being mothballed, theon the east coast of Scotland is back to work
After three years of intensive restoration, the Brora Distillery has resumed operations. The distillery had been closed for 38 years, during which it gradually gained cult status among fans. The remaining and bottlings have seen a great increase in value. We recently reported about the new exclusiv Brora Triptych Series. Now a new Brora era begins and new whisky will mature.
The foundation stone for this was laid this morning with the filling of the first cask. Stewart Bowman had the honour of officially opening the doors of the Brora Distillery and pouring the first into the cask today. His father was the last excise man of Brora and so Bowman is proud that he was the one to roll a new cask into no. 1.
“In 1983,” Bowman comments, ”my father wrote in an old distillery ledger ‘Commencement of Brora silent season (undetermined period)’. Growing up in the village we often wondered whether Brora would ever return, but today we filled the first cask. It is with great pride that I can now say to my father, the Brora community, and all the ‘old hands’ that worked at Brora and helped to craft a legendary whisky, that the stills are alive and we are making Brora spirit once again.”
Joanne McKerchar, archivist at Diageo, played an important role during the renovation, as the personal experiences of the workers from Brora’s active days were to be incorporated into the planning. The new Brora Distillery works with stills that are exact copies of the old stills, and efforts were made to replicate the original conditions and processes as far as possible.
McKerchar comments, “When we first opened the doors at Brora we walked into a time capsule. As a historian and an archivist for malts, I had never seen anything like that before. It was unbelievable just how untouched it was: as if the guys had justtheir shift and walked out - but, of course, nobody then came back in. What must they have been thinking the last time they flicked that light switch or they locked the doors not knowing whether we were ever going to see this place open again? You’re not just looking at stills or a physical building, it’s all of the emotion that would have went with that last day that suddenly comes flooding back and then that coupled with a big question: so what are we going to do now, and what lies ahead of us, and how are we going to achieve this? It was quite overwhelming.”
From July, visitors will be welcomed again to the Brora Distillery. The two very exclusive tour options for £600 or £300 per person can be booked on the distillery's website.