Wednesday, May 19, 2021


Diageo, has today announced that restoration work at its Brora Distillery, has been completed.

Having closed in 1983, and following a three year restoration, the 202 year old distillery marked its reawakening by filling its first cask.

Brora Master Distiller: Stewart Bowman

Over the decades this small distillery lay silent, set amidst the dramatic Highland landscape of its remote Highland home of Sutherland on the North East coast of Scotland. But during this time, Brora became renowned for the exceptional quality and character of whisky maturing in its shuttered warehouses.

The process of restoration extended beyond the physical buildings to the cherished Brora spirit that has made the distillery so legendary. Using a combination of the tasting notes for the original new make spirit, stills refurbished to exact historic specifications, material from the archives and more modern distilling knowledge, the restorers managed to replicate, as closely as possible, the way the distillery operated in 1983.

Viewed as one of the lost icons of the whisky world, the distillery and whisky gained legendary status during its closed years. Historic bottlings of Brora Single Malt Scotch Whisky found great acclaim amongst collectors with a bottle of Brora 1972 Limited Edition 40-Year-Old sold as part of Sotheby’s Ultimate Whisky Auction in 2019 for a distillery record of £54,450.

Brora-local Master Distiller Stewart Bowman, son of the last exciseman at Brora reopened the Brora wildcat gates and filled the first cask of Brora spirit in more than 38 years, which was then rolled to Warehouse Number One to mature.

Commenting on the news, Stewart Bowman, said: “We have gone to every effort to replicate, as closely as possible, the conditions, equipment and processes from Brora in 1983 in order to recreate the spirit for which the distillery is famous. The original pair of Brora stills travelled 200 miles across Scotland to Diageo Abercrombie Coppersmiths in Alloa where they were refurbished by hand; we raised up the original pagoda roof to conduct intricate repairs, and rebuilt the stillhouse brick-by-brick using original Brora stone to restore this historic Victorian distillery.”

In 2017, Diageo announced that it would restore Brora as a part of a £35 million investment to bring Brora and the equally iconic lost distillery of Port Ellen on Islay back to life, as a major commitment to Scotland and its communities.

Posted by Steve Rush