Caledonian distillery

The Caledonian grain distillery was one of the largest distilleries in Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century, it closed its doors forever in 1988. The distillery name Caledonia is also the Latin name for Scotland, the Caledonia distillery was more commonly called The Cally.

It should not be confused with the nearby Caledonian Brewery or the former whiskey distillery of the same name, which existed in Campbeltown from 1823-1851.


Caledonian was a former grain distillery that produced whisky in the Haymarket district of Edinburgh until 1988. They obtained the water they needed from the nearby Union Canal. They used a 1000 gallon coffey still, which was one of the largest of its kind at the time. Unfortunately, there were no original bottlings from Caledonian during its lifetime, only bottlings from independent bottlers it has been released as part of Diageo’s special releases range. While there are still a few barrels remaining, supplies are steadily dwindling and cannot be reproduced.


The distillery was founded in 1855 by Graham Menzies in the Edinburgh district of Haymarket as the Edinburgh Distillery and was used to produce grain whiskey. In 1884 it merged with the Distiller Company Ltd (DCL). The acquisition of the distillery by DCL led to its preponderance in the grain market and thus in the blends segment. As a result, to create a stronger counterbalance, a group of blenders founded the North British distillery.

It was operated by Scottish Grain Distillers Ltd from 1966. The closure took place in 1988. In 1997 the production facilities were partially demolished. The remainder of the building complex preserved today, with the chimney as a landmark that can be seen from afar, was placed under monument protection. Its picturesque sight hardly suggests the once devastating damage caused by fires.

Caledonian factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Caledonian Edinburgh Lowlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Lost 1885 - 1988 Grain Caledonian Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group

Caledonian Timeline:

1823: Said to have been founded

1828-40: Peter Stewart & Co. licensee when dissolved

....: Continued by James Johnstone under same name

1842: again dissolved

1844: again dissolved

1851: Silent

2005: The site is now a garage

Can I tour Caledonian?

No, unfortunately Caledonian distillery is not open to the public for tours