The Cameronbridge distillery primarily produces grain whisky for the blending industry however single grain Scotch whisky like Cameron Brig and the David Beckham partnered Haig Club are distilled there as well. The distillery was founded near the town of Windygates in the Scottish Lowlands as early as 1824 making it the oldest grain whisky distillery in Scotland.
What does Cameronbridge single grain taste like? The Cameronbridge Single Grain Scotch is a mild, pleasant cereal and nutty whisky. As grain whisky is seldom put into high quality casks, the whiskies are seldom worth drinking at a young age but evolve into incredibly well rounded and complex casks after the 20 or so years.
Cameronbridge, unlike most other grain distilleries actually has its own bottling; The Cameron Brig Single Grain. The grain whisky for the Cameron Brig is distilled in 3 Coffey stills, the water is taken from Loch Leven. Cameron Brig is a perfect representative of the single grain category to get to know the whiskies of this type. The self-proclaimed jewel of the Scottish grain distilleries offers an extremely mild, light on the tongue single grain Scotch. The whisky is light and simple, a far from complex whisky but an interesting insight into the differences between single grain and single malt nonetheless.
The aim of the Cameronbridge Distillery was to distill grain whisky on an industrial scale right from the start. It is therefore not surprising that the plant is one of the largest grain distilleries in Scotland today. Up to 300,000 hectoliters of whisky are produced annually.
Grain whiskies from the Cameronbridge distillery can be found in the Diageo Blends Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell’s, Black & White, Vat 69 and White Horse. Cameronbridge is an industrial plant that is also used to produce other spirits. So Diageo also produces the famous Gordon’s Gin and Smirnoff Vodka onsite.
The Cameronbridge story begins with two of the most important families in Scotch whisky history: The Haigs and the Steins. There is evidence that Robert Haig already produced 1655 whisky. His great-great-grandson married Margaret Stein in 1751, bringing two large whisky families together. The beginning of a whisky dynasty, so to speak. Four of their sons joined the whisky craft. Her eldest son John founded the Cameronbridge Distillery in 1824 during a period of whisky boom.
Johns Cousin, Robert Stein invented the Patent Still, a form of previously unknown continuous distillation that was to have a lasting impact on the whisky industry. In 1829, John installed the new distillation method. Some years later, the Irish Aeneas Coffey further developed the idea of continuous distillation and invented the “Coffey Still” still used in some distilleries today, though more efficienct versions have since emerged. Haig also included this new version in his distillery.
Distillers Company Ltd
In 1865, John Haig merged with eight other lowland grain whisky producers. The company was renamed Distillers Company Limited, DCL for short, in 1877. Together with his colleagues Port Dundas, Carsebridge, Glenochil, Cambus, and Kirkliston, DCL controlled 75% of the country’s grain whisky production. The company’s temporary monopoly ensured it a pole position in the Scotch whisky industry. Over time through expansion, acquisition and mergers DCL evolved in Diageo, the company that currently owns the largest share of Scottish whisky distilleries.
Cameronbridge is not only the oldest and largest grain whisky distillery in Scotland, it also played a major role in the shape of and success of Scotch whisky.
|Name||Pronounced||AKA||Region||Country of Origin|
|Status||Active||Whisky Type||Website||Tours Available|
|Active||1824 - Present||Grain||Cameronbridge||Not Available|
|Manager||Distiller||Blender||Owned by||Parent Group|
1813-15: John Edington & Co.
1815-21: Not working
1824: Said to have been ’carried on for many years’ before 1824 by John Edington and Robert Haig
1824: Acquired by John Haig
1830-May-12: Stein still installed by John Haig under license of 12 May 1830
1830s-1877: Operated by John Haig & Co.
1877: Transferred to the newly formed Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL)
1880s: Two Stein stills making ’silent malt’ spirit in the 1880s, one of which continued to do so until 1929
by 1887: Two Coffey stills in addition to the Stein stills and two pot stills, continuing to make whisky until the 1920s
1966: Transferred to Scottish Grain Distillers Ltd. (SGD). Two Coffey stills. ’Old Cameronbrig’ - grain whisky is sold as a single
1989: Gin spirit facility transferred from Wandsworth
1992: Gin spirit facility licensed to United Malt & Grain Distillers Ltd. (UMGD)
Can I tour Cameronbridge?
No, unfortunately Cameronbridge distillery is not open to the public for tours