Beam Suntory Set To Restore And Upgrade Glen Garioch’s Distillery

By Allyson Nichols / March 25, 2021

Beam Suntory is set to restore and upgrade the Glen Garioch Scotch single malt distillery in Old Meldrum, it was recently announced..

The renovation will see the distillery return to more traditional production processes, while also introducing new cutting-edge technology for direct-fired distillation and reducing the distillery’s carbon footprint. The project will reintroduce floor maltings, as well as the installation of direct-fired heating to the wash still. Glen Garioch has also developed a highly efficient and safe method for direct-fired distillation, which Beam Suntory anticipates will reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 15%.

In returning to these traditional distilling and malting methods, Glen Garioch plans to undertake significant upskilling of the site team, as well as rely on the skills and experience of site staff who used these processes previously at Glen Garioch, including industry stalwarts such as Kenny “Digger” Grant and the expertise of its sister distilleries on Islay, who also employ traditional floor maltings.

Glen Garioch

The Glen Garioch distillery (image via Beam Suntory)

“We are proud to make this investment in Glen Garioch’s historic distillery, and we’re excited about the future,” Glen Garioch Distillery Manager Kwanele Mdluli said in a prepared statement. Although these traditional distilling and malting methods are rare in today’s industry, our teams have deep expertise and passion for these methods, and we’re all looking forward to bringing them back to our distillery. We are honored to be a part of Glen Garioch’s long tradition of innovation and quality craftsmanship.”

One of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland, Glen Garioch has been making its single malt Scotch hisky in the historic market town of Oldmeldrum since 1797. As a result of these changes to the distillery, Glen Garioch has already doubled its distillery operations team and additional hires are planned in 2021. Work began in 2020, and various stages of the £6 million project are expected to be completed over the course of 2021.  The first new make spirit will come off the stills later this year.