North British distillery

North British, or NB as it’s more commonly known, is one of the largest distilleries in Scotland and until the Leith distillery comes on stream the only remaining distillery in Scotland’s capital (since 1988 when the Caledonian distillery closed its doors for the last time). Few official bottles exist as the bulk of the spirit is used for blending, though the SMWS and Signatory Vintage lines are available from time to time.

NB is almost inconceivable in capacity, at full steam the distillery can produce 10 bottles of whisky every second and sufficient feed for 28,000 cows every week as such the distillery has had to remain on the cutting edge to limit waste from CO2 capture to fitting anaerobic digesters (AD), the resultant biogas powered engines generate 9,000KW/day of electricity and can be actually be sold back to the national grid.

North British factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
North British Lowlands Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1885 - Present Grain North British Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Grain Distillery Co-owned by Diageo and the Edrington Group

North British Timeline:

1885: North British grain distillery is founded by Andrew Usher, William Sanderson and John M. Crabbie

1887: North British came on stream in September 1887

1897: Chairman Andrew Usher claims 'There is no whisky more popular in Scotland than North British'

1916: The distillery is converted to be able to produce acetone from maize, though this is ultimately not used

1917: Production ceases due to lack of grain

1920: Production resumes

1939: Production ceases due to the start of the second World War

1948: Scotland's first saladin maltings were installed

1988: The Caledonian closes leaving North British Edinburgh's last distillery

1993: Lothian Distillers is formed buying out all other shareholders

2003: The Maltings and all but one warehousing sites in Edinburgh are sold for redevelopment

Useful North British links:

North British at MaltMadness

North British at MasterOfMalts

North British at SMWS

North British at WhiskyExhange

North British at WhiskyPortal

North British at Whiskybase

North British at Wikipedia

Interesting North British links:

North British sustainable water and co-products solution

Photo tour of the distillery from Unfiltered

Scottish places profile

Can I tour North British?

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