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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Kingsbarns Lowland Distillery

A new "farm style" whisky distillery for the Kingdom of Fife.

Kingsbarns Distillery

The selected location for the Kingsbarns Distillery is 6 miles southeast of the world famous home of golf, St Andrews, and Three miles North West of the beautiful harbour of Crail, in an area known as East Neuk and its picturesque fishing villages.  


On the south side of the village of the same name, being the location of the barns used to store grain before being transported to the Palace at Falkland.


The Kingsbarns Distillery will be tastefully converted from the charming and architecturally important East Newhall Farm.  The ancient barns, doocot, mill and stables provide the perfect location to take whisky making back to its artisanal, craft origins,  a time when farmers themselves would distil their surplus barley.


The Wemyss family bought the Kingsbarns Distillery project in January 2013, construction at the site began at Easter that year.


Originating  from Scotland their historic family seat is Wemyss Castle in Fife where they’ve lived since the 1300s.  They have a historical link with the Kingbarns Distillery site as the 7th Earl of Wemyss actually owned part of the Cambo Estate between 1759 and 1783.


The family own Wemyss Malts which is an independent bottler with a whisky range including the blended malt whisky range comprising: The Spice King, The Peat Chimney and The Hive; single malt single cask bottlings and the blended Scotch named Lord Elcho after one of the Wemyss family’s ancestors.


Along with premium wines and spirits brands that include boutique gin Darnley’s View together with the premium wine estate of Rimauresq Cru Classé in Cotes de Provence.


The company is being supported in this exciting new development with a European Food Processing and Marketing grant via the Scottish Government for £670K.


Newly appointed members of the Kingsbarns Distillery team are: Distillery Manager Peter Holroyd who joins from craft brewer Strathaven Ales; and Distillery Visitor Centre Manager and Founding Director Douglas Clement.


Geography and Tourism.

Situated in the ancient Kingdom of Fife the distillery is surrounded by some of the richest agricultural land in Scotland, much of it barley, and overlooks the world famous Kingsbarns Golf Links itself dates back to 1793.


The course attracts around 25,000 golfers a year and is established as one of Scotland’s finest links courses. It hosts the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October every year, one of the biggest events on the European Tour, and this year for the first time is a final qualifying course for the British Open at St Andrews.


In whisky geography terms the Kingsbarns Distillery is located in the Lowlands. Some people consider this region as something of a ‘poor relation’ to the higher profile and more glamorous Highlands and Islands. However there was a time when the Lowlands were the powerhouse of Scotch whisky production, and way back in 1797 there were 31 Lowland distilleries in operation.


This dominance slowly changed and the Lowland region became best known for the large-Full industrial distillation of lighter grain spirit for blending purposes and up to the start of the millennium  only two working malt whisky distilleries remained, Auchentoshan (Glasgow) and Glenkinchie, (Edinburgh).


The situation improved with the re-commissioning of Bladnoch, (Wigtown) in 2000, followed by the opening of Fife’s private farm-based Daftmill distillery in 2005. A further lowland distillery is in advanced planning stages at Annandale (Southwest Lowlands close to Bladnoch)


With all the Lowland regions’ whisky distilleries with visitor centers at quite some distance, Daftmill does not at present offer a visitor experience,  the nearest competitors for the Tourist  Traffic  are all outside the Kingdom of Fife and over an hours drive away from St Andrews these include Tullibardine, Glenturret, Glenkinchie, Edradour and Aberfeldy.


This will put the distillery in a strong position to offer the “ Farm Distilling Whisky Experience” to those drawn to the major golf attractions on the distilleries door step.


As well as the Distillery facilities future visitors will be able to walk directly from the Distillery through the magical Cambo Woods, over the Burn to the Gardens, Cambo Mansion House and on to the magnificent Golf Links, Beach and popular Fife Coastal Path.


Golf and whisky heaven.

The Kingsbarns Buildings

JUNE 17TH, 2014



Director William Wemyss visited the site last week to put one of the last of the roof tiles into place. Joining him were the Distillery Founder and newly appointed Visitor Centre Manager, Douglas Clement; new Distillery Manager, Peter Holroyd; and Director of the site contractor Colorado, Ian Bownes.


"Topping out" is a tradition in the building industry when a building is being completed with its roof or top. In this instance, the Wemyss party also marked the occasion with a dram from the Wemyss Malts whisky range.


The  visitor centre is going to be fitted out over the summer and open

from December 2014 - The stills are coming from Forsyths and are due in September, so they will be distilling by the time the vistor  centre opens (just!).

Topping out Photographs by Douglas Robertson.

Kingsbarns Lowland Distillery

East Newhall Farm Steading


St Andrews


Telephone: +44 (0) 7717754053


Visitor facilities


7 days a week 10am - 6pm. First tour 10.30am, last tour 4.30pm.


Please Contact the distillery to confirm before travelling