Ailsa Bay distillery

Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Ailsa Bay is in the Lowlands, on the Clyde coast looking out towards Ailsa Craig, Kintyre, and Arran. Its eight stills however produce a wide variety of styles of makes. This flexibility is deliberate as the distillery was built to both replace ‘Balvenie-style’ malt for Grant’s blends and offer other flavour possibilities. Given this, not surprisingly, the stills are shaped the same as Balvenie’s.

Four different characters are made: estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.

  • Region
    Lowland
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
    Working

Ailsa Bay History

There is a long history of malt distilleries being built within grain plants: Inverleven at Dumbarton (1959-1991), Ben Wyvis at Invergordon (1965-1977), Glen Flager and Killyloch at Garnheath (1965-1985), and Ladyburn at Girvan (1966-1976). All of them were built by blending firms and came into being at a time when an increase in production was deemed necessary. All then closed when a downturn in demand occurred.

It was a slightly different dynamic which prompted William Grant & Sons in 2007 to build Ailsa Bay on the same Girvan site where Ladyburn had once stood. This time not only were the Grant’s blends (the Family Reserve range and Clan MacGregor), both growing, but so was demand for its two flagship malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Pressure on the latter was the main reason for the construction of this eight still, 5m litres per annum capacity site.

After eight years of production, Ailsa Bay's first official bottling as a single malt was a no-age-statement heavily peated whisky released in February 2016. The expression unleashed the full flexibiility of Ailsa Bay's production set up, combining innovative techniques in the way of spirit cut points, vatting, maturation and even 'sweetness measurement'.

Ailsa Bay Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    12
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube (four stainless steel)
  • Fermentation Time i
    60 hours
  • Filling Strength i
    63.5%
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    12
  • Heat Source i
    Steam
  • Malt Supplier i
    Various
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Lauter
  • New-make Phenol Level i
    5-22ppm
  • New-make Strength i
    70%
  • Single Malt Percentage i
    4%
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Onion with boil ball
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
    12,000
  • Stills i
    16
  • Warehousing i
    Racked, palletised
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Onion with boil ball
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
    12,000
  • Washback Size (l) i
    50,000
  • Washback Type i
    Stainless steel
  • Washbacks i
    24
  • Water Source i
    Penwhapple Reservoir
  • Wort Clarity i
    Medium
  • Yeast Type i
    Liquid

Owner

Current owner

Contact

Address
Ailsa Bay Distillery
Grangestone Industrial Estate
Girvan
Ayrshire
KA26 9PT
United Kingdom
Phone
+44 1465 713091
Visitor Opening Hours
Not open to the public

Map

See also

  • Balvenie Balvenie Balvenie Distillery & brand

    Balvenie

    Balvenie is one of the few distilleries to still operate a floor maltings.

  • Glenfiddich Glenfiddich Glenfiddich Distillery & brand

    Glenfiddich

    By far Scotland’s largest distillery.

  • Ladyburn Ladyburn Ladyburn Distillery & brand

    Ladyburn

    Once producing a floral, citrus malt within Girvan's grain complex, Ladyburn's whisky is now rare.

  • Grant's Grant's Grant's Brand

    Grant's

    Blend from the William Grant family.

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