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Girvan distillery

Girvan is the Grain Whisky distillery of the company William Grants & Sons, who are famouus for their Glenfiddich and Balvenie single Malts. The output from Girvan is more widely drunk as part of the Grants Blended Whisky brand but also has a number of single grain bottlings, several of which are quite exceptional.


Girvan whisky distillery is located in the quiet coastal town of Girvan from which it takes its name. Built in 1963 by the whisky producers William Grant & Sons the Lowland grain distillery is a state-of-the-art industrial monster in which more than 50 million litres of pure alcohol can be produced per annum. Girvan is the most most energy efficient distillery in Scotland in Scotland and is one of Scotland’s biggest distilleries.


How is Girvan Whisky produced?As Girvan is a grain whisky distillery it produces not only malted barley, but from other grain varieties such as wheat. The Girvan Grain Whisky, and of course also the Girvan Single Grain Scotch Whisky, are produced at this point with a Coffey still and a continuous still.  Girvan means “short river” and is pronounced like Górwen. Currently, approx. 680,000 hectolitres of whisky were produced.


William Grant & Sons extended their activities to Blended Whisky in the mid-1960s, with the aim of becoming more independent from their competitors through the construction of the Girvan Grain Distillery. For a short period of time there was also a Malt distillery under the name Ladyburn in Girvan. From 1966 to 1975 this malt whisky was produced primarily to bolster their blended output. However in order to gain space for an expansion of the Grain distillery production, the Ladyburn buildings were demolited in 1976. There are some official fillings as well as some independent bottlings of Ladyburn. Due to their scarcity are now all rare collectors’ items.

Ailsa Bay

Today, Girvan once again is the site of a Lowland Malt distillery: Ailsa Bay. Ailsa Bay is a large eight stills site producing a range of new make styles. This flexibility is deliberate as the distillery was built to provide ‘Balvenie style’ malt for Grant’s blends and to offer other flavour possibilities

Since Girvan is a classic industrial plant, it is also used for the production of other spirits such as gin or vodka.

Girvan factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Girvan Gir*vin Lowlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1963 - Present Grain Girvan Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
David Stewart William Grant & Sons

Can I tour Girvan?

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