Glenglassaugh Distillery In Profit Three Years After Reopening

A distillery which lay silent for over two decades has turned a profit just three years after being refurbished and put back into production. Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire reported a turnover of £1 million in 2011 and was able to achieve a £100,000 profit.

It had been thought that it would take up to 10 years before the distillery would be able to reach that position, but it has hit the target in advance due to the volume of sales of exclusive single cask bottling and its small cask ownership scheme. The position has been further boosted by strong sales in overseas markets, particularly in Russia, Asia, Germany and USA.

The announcement comes just weeks after Glenglassaugh launched the first bottling of single malt Scotch whisky which has been distilled on site since the refurbishment in 2008. The aptly-named Revival, which has an RRP of £35, has attracted significant interest from international markets.

Glenglassaugh Distillery managing director Stuart Nickerson says, “It had been expected that it would take at least seven years and possibly as much as 10 years for Glenglassaugh to turn a profit. That estimate was based on the performance of other distilleries which had recommenced production after a period of mothballing.

“However, none of the models we compared ourselves with had such a long gap between closing and reopening as Glenglassaugh, so that in itself makes the achievement even more surprising and exceptional.

“There are two distinct areas which, we believe, have enabled this to happen. The first is the extent of overseas sales and the fact that we are selling into 25 different countries. Glenglassaugh already had a loyal following in parts of Europe, but we built on that by working with specialist importers in our target markets.

“The second key to our success has been to sell small casks – octaves – to both corporate and private customers. The barrels are filled with spirit and are left to mature for up to seven years. Customers range from international whisky clubs to brides looking for a special wedding present for their husband-to-be. I don’t know of any other distillery selling new-make spirit in this way and it has proved to be very, very good business for us.”

Stuart Nickerson, managing director of Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire.
Stuart Nickerson, managing director of Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire.

Glenglassaugh Distillery – the most coastal distillery in mainland Scotland – was opened in 1875. It was mothballed in 1986 by the then owner Edrington Group, and bought by a group of private investors in 2008. The aim was to produce a new single malt, but while Revival was maturing Glenglassaugh focused on selling a stock of around 500 casks of high quality spirit which had been acquired along with the distillery.

A substantial investment was made in refurbishing Glenglassaugh, but Stuart and his team were intent on using the same traditional methods that had been used at the distillery during the very early days. It is this link to the past that gives Revival a similar quality to the older whisky ranges which were distilled up until the early 1980s.

Stuart adds, “Revival has only been on the market for a couple of weeks but we can see that the prospects for this malt will continue to grow. The reaction so far has surpassed our expectations and we are receiving outstanding levels of orders from around the world.

“The feedback we have received is that Revival is a very good quality whisky, and that people are surprised by the depth and complexity of something that is so young.

“Glenglassaugh is riding high on the wave of popularity for malt whisky among young affluent professionals, and we are confident that Revival will soon be appearing on their most wanted dram lists.”

Revival is now available from specialist whisky outlets across the UK and can also be ordered, along with the distillery’s other award winning range of ages whiskies and younger spirit drinks, at the online retail shop

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