Glenlochy distillery

A short but sad story. Glenlochy was one of the few Malt whisky distilleries in the western Highlands of Scotland. Glenlochy was founded in Inverlochy, near Fort William in 1898. The city of Fort William lies on the dividing line between the Western Highlands and the Northern Highlands. Once home to three distilleries, Glenlochy, the Nevis, and Ben Nevis, only Ben Nevis distillery is still active today.

The Glenlochy Distillery started producing whisky in 1901 but fell silent in 1919 reopening in 1924 but closing again after only 2 years. The distillery was acquired in 1937 by Thomas Rankin but does not resume production. 1937 saw the distillery change hands again, this time being acquired by Train and McIntyre who transferred it to their subsidiary Associated Scottish Distillers the next year. Train and McIntyre are sold to Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) in 1954 who close the distillery in 1968. Resuming production briefly, alas with the loss of its rail connection Glenlochy closed its doors for for good on May 31, 1983. The then owner of Glenlochy, Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), closed the distillery.

The site was sold in 1992 and the buildings were partially demolished. Some buildings are classified as historical monuments, primarily the highly visible Kiln with the pagoda roof. The remaining buildings were converted into into apartments, workshops and offices and a B&B. Since Glenlochy has already been largely demolished, stocks have been scarce for years and the distillery will probably never go back into operation but for those interested it is possible to stay in the former Distillery manager’s House.

During the distilleries brief production the bulk of its whisky went into blending, with only a handful of bottlings being released onto the market as single malts. The distillery appeared in the “Rare Malts” whisky series, and is infrequently found among the output of independent bottlers. The already rare malts of this distillery are becoming increasingly rare.

Glenlochy factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Glenlochy Highlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Closed 1898 - Present Malt Glenlochy Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group

Glenlochy Timeline:

1898: Established by David McAndie of Nairn a mile outside Fort William on the bank of the River Nevis and besides Ben Nevis, which afforded a good supply of water used to power the Distillery. The West Highland Railway was close by. The year the business started the whisky boom of the 1890s turned into recession, so the Distillery worked at a fraction of its capacity, even going out of production several seasons. Also the Glenlochy-Fort William Distillery Co. Ltd. is named as the builder of the distillery

1919-24: Silent

1920: The shareholders sold out to a group of English breweries, but the production remained patchy

1926-37: Silent

1934: Distillery purchased by Thomas Leslie Rankin, motor hirer

1937: Joseph Hobbs bought the distillery in association with Train & McIntyre, a firm of blenders from Glasgow, and funded by National Distillers of America (NDA)

1938: Production resumed and the distillery was transferred to Associated Scottish Distillers (ASD), a subsidiary of Train & MacIntyre Ltd.

1940: Joseph Hobbs sold his interest in Associated Scottish Distillers (ASD) and retired

1953: Train & MacIntyre Ltd. acquired by the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL) from its American owner, National Distillers of America, and Glenlochy was transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD). Two stills

1960s: Glenlochy has been re-equipped by Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD)

1970s: Glenlochy has been renovated by Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD)

1983: Distillery closed due to recession

1991: Site sold for development

Can I tour Glenlochy?

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