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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Caledonian Grain Whisky

Distillery 1855-1988

Caledonian Distillery Near the Haymarket Edinburgh

Last Owners UDV

Location Lowlands

Water source unknown


Caledonian Distillery History  


Graham Menzies & Co operated and built up the Sunbury Distillery from the mid 1830s unfortunately the site had no room for further expansion. so he built a replacement initially called the Edinburgh Distillery in 1855   Shortly afterwards the name was changed to the Caledonian. Was known informally as ‘the Cally’


The location for the new distillery was ideal. Next to the North British Main Railway line, also close to the Union Canal where the processing water was drawn.


Initially Graham Menzies & Co consisted of Graham Menzies and Messrs Bernard and Craig the latter two left in 1879 and 1865 respectively.


During 1884 Menzies & Co merged with DCL. When Alfred Bernard visited in 1886 he was impressed with the size of the Caledonian.  Apart from Port Dundas and The John Power and John Jameson Distilleries in Ireland there was nothing else in the British Isles to match. – with an annual output of two million gallons of grain whisky. Employing 200 men and 11 excisemen under a Mr Halley.


One Consequence of the 1884 merger with DCL was: Several blenders including Andrew Usher became alarmed at DCL’s control of grain whisky production, they established their own grain distillery  at Gorgie called the North British. The distillery is still working and is Edinburgh’s last remaining distillery in a city that was once awash with them.


Over the years there were of course changes to the plant and capital equipment the railway connection was severed when changes to The Princess Street Station approaches were altered. Shipment of supplies and product transferred to road haulage.


The processing water was sourced from other means when the canal water became stagnant after becoming unused.


In 1966 Scottish Grain Distillers Ltd operated the distillery and in 1988 was closed by UDV. Due to the high number of listed buildings covering the area no buyers could be found. In 1995 UDV and Historic Scotland agreed on a shorten list of buildings to be kept.


 In 1997 a serious offer was made for redevelopment. There is a now a new housing estate occupying the old distillery site



Caledonian Distillery Bottlings  

No official bottlings


Caledonian Distillery Independent Bottlings  


Clan Denny (Douglas Laing)


Duncan Taylor