Glasgow, a city renowned for its industrial talent, has carved out a name for itself in the world of whisky. One distillery that stands proudly on the banks of the River Clyde, embodying the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Scottish whisky, is Clydeside Distillery. Nestled amidst the bustling streets of the city, this remarkable establishment is a must visit if you visit Glasgow.
Clydeside Distillery is located in the old Pumphouse building at the docks. It pumped the hydraulic power for the swing bridge, letting guest arrive and depart from Queen’s Dock. However, it was not until 2017 that this historic building was transformed into the Clydeside Distillery we know today.
Under the passionate guidance of founders Tim Morrison and his son, Andrew Morrison, the distillery began its journey to resurrect Glasgow’s whisky heritage. With deep roots in the whisky industry, the Morrison family brought their expertise and unwavering commitment to creating a distillery that would pay homage to the city’s illustrious past.
Stepping inside The Clydeside Distillery, visitors are greeted with a captivating whisky experience that showcases the distillery’s production process. The knowledgeable guides (thank you Cameron) take enthusiasts through each stage, offering insights into the craft that goes into every drop of whisky produced.
The distillery’s production process begins with the careful selection of the finest ingredients. Locally sourced Scottish barley (from seven Scottish Lowland farms), meticulously chosen for its distinct flavor profiles, forms the foundation of their spirits. The barley is then malted off-site and milled on-site (70% grits, 20% husks and 10% flour).
Next, the mash tun works its magic, converting the malted barley into a sweet, fermentable liquid known as wort. The wort is then combined with yeast in one of the 8 washback’s (8000 liters each), allowing fermentation to take place. The Clydeside Distillery ferment for about 72 hours, contributing to the development of unique flavors and aromas. The wash ends at about 8-9% ABV.
Following fermentation, the wash is double distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The artful process of distillation shapes the character of the spirit, refining it into the fine liquid that will ultimately become Clydeside whisky. Of the stills, the spirit is roughly 71%, but us watered down to 63.5%, before it enters the casks.
Finally, the new spirit is aged in a carefully selected range of oak casks, which previously held various liquids, mostly bourbon and sherry. This maturation process takes place on a “secret” location, where the whisky breathes in the Scottish air. Over time, the whisky matures and develops complex flavors, which gives the master blenders some lovely whisky to work with. For the nerds interested out there – it is Dr. Jim Swan, who created the cask policy for Clydeside Distillery.
Whether you are a whisky connoisseur or a curious enthusiast, a visit to the Clydeside Distillery is an experience that should not be missed. Immerse yourself in Glasgow’s whisky heritage, witness the artistry of the production process, and savor the exceptional single malt whiskies crafted with unwavering dedication at Clydeside Distillery. It is a journey that will leave you with a profound appreciation for Scottish whisky.
At the tour, we tasted their new make (at 63.5%), the core range expression Stobcross, a sample of their whisky from a Bourbon cask, a sample of their whisky from a Sherry cask, and to finish off, we tasted their “bottle your own” expression from the visitor center.
We are still at an early stage, but I am quite confident that we will see some great liquid from Clydeside being released over the years, and I am quite confident that I will be back and visit again in the future!
And a little bonus info here at the end. Clydeside is an unpeated soft Lowland style whisky – however, two weeks a year, they produce peated whisky. This will be interesting to look out for!