Edinburgh Whisky Academy

What’s new: whisky tourism in Edinburgh 2020

What’s new: whisky tourism in Edinburgh 2020 image

As the sensational investment in Edinburgh’s whisky tourism scene continues, we’ve picked three developments to watch out for this year…

The Port of Leith Distillery
We’re hugely excited at the prospect of The Port of Leith Distillery, the first purpose-built single malt distillery to be constructed in Edinburgh for more than a century. Situated next to Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre and The Royal Yacht Britannia, the £5m vertical distillery promises to be an exciting new landmark for Leith.

Interestingly, their big focus is going to be fermentation, a key part of the whisky production process which is rarely emphasised to customers in the end product.

Founders Patrick Fletcher and Ian Stirling grew up together in Edinburgh before sharing a flat in London (working as an accountant and a wine merchant, respectively). They say: “Our journey to build this distillery began on a sofa, as two whisky fans who dreamt of making their own single malt.” Good luck to them, we can’t wait to see it.

You can watch the story so far here and follow further developments at leithdistillery.com.


Johnnie Walker visitor experience
Easily the world’s biggest whisky brand, 2020 marks the 200th year anniversary of Johnnie Walker. How are they celebrating? By opening a new multi-million-pound global visitor attraction at the West end of Princes Street, Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfare.

Work has already begun to transform the site (which includes a restoration of the old Binn’s clock) which will become a major new tourist destination. The centre is expected to create more than 160 new full-time equivalent jobs and is forecasted to generate £135 million spend in the wider city economy.

What’s more, this is only one part of what is undoubtedly the biggest investment programme ever seen in Scotch Whisky tourism. Diageo is also transforming four of its distilleries – Glenkinchie, Caol Ila, Clynelish and Cardhu – representing the ‘four corners of Scotland’ in a move to encourage visitors to follow the Johnnie Walker brand story, exploring extraordinary communities beyond the capital.


Whisky Trails Cask & Still app
Scotland’s whisky magazine, Cask & Still, have recently released “Whisky Trails” a pocket guide to Edinburgh’s whisky scene in the form of a mobile app.

Free to download on iOS and Android, the app allows city visitors to search an interactive map to find the best places to shop, buy and sample the national drink at the touch of a button.

We’re proud sponsors of the Edinburgh Trail which so far includes bars like Usquabae, The Bow Bar and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. With similar trails launching for Glasgow, Ayrshire, the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, and the Highlands & Islands throughout 2020, this app is definitely one to watch.

Cask & Still is published bi-annually with regular contributions from Charlie MacLean, Blair Bowman and our Diploma in Gin teacher Geraldine Coates. You can read the most recent issue here.


More updates on developments coming soon


If you’re planning a whisky trip to Scotland this year, don’t forget to take a look at the dates for our in-person Diploma in Single Malt Whisky and the Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky courses which take place at the historic Arniston House located near Gorebridge, just south of Edinburgh.

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