Prestonpans distillery

Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

In the early 1800s what is today Prestonpans consisted of three separate localities: Preston, Preston Grange and Preston Pans. The latter was a one-street village near the shore of the Firth of Forth. The nearest possible water source for the distillery was a stream that passed the site of the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans and and flowed east to enter the Forth at Cockenzie. No distillery is shown on maps of the time, so the exact site is unknown. 

  • Region
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status

Prestonpans History

While its location is unknown, the many licensees of Prestonpans distillery were recorded for some 25 years.

The first to run the site was Prestonpans Distillery Co., in 1825, but by the following year it was in the hands of HF Cadell & Co. The company ran Prestonpans for eight years before it was left silent.

Operation restarted – albeit intermittently – in 1837 under H, F & W Cadell, before Prestonpans was sold to Hislop & Co. in 1849.

By the following year it had closed, this time for good.

Today, Prestonpans is overshadowed by the vast Cockenzie power station. It still retains a link to whisky production in the form of McMillan’s of Prestonpans – one of just three Scottish coppersmiths.


  • 1825 Prestonpans distillery is licensed to Prestonpans Distillery Co.
  • 1826 H F Cadell & Co. takes over the licence
  • 1834 Prestonpans distillery stands silent
  • 1837 The distilliery licence passes to H F & W Cadell
  • 1844 Prestonpans distillery is reported as active
  • 1847 Reports surface once more of distilling at Prestonpans
  • 1849 The licence passes to Hislop & Co.
  • 1850 Prestonpans distillery is closed


East Lothian
United Kingdom

See also

  • Fisherrow Fisherrow Fisherrow Distillery


    Edinburgh’s eastern suburb once housed a distillery from 1826-37.

  • St Clement's Wells St Clement's Wells St Clement's Wells Distillery

    St Clement's Wells

    A long-lost farm distillery, once sited between Musselburgh and Tranent.

  • West Barns West Barns West Barns Distillery

    West Barns

    A distillery at Dunbar, East Lothian, that distilled from 1798 until the mid-1830s.

  • Glenkinchie Glenkinchie Glenkinchie Distillery & brand


    Lowland rep in Diageo's Classic Malts.

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