Deanston Distillery is technically a highland distillery, but only by a matter of miles. Located just 8 miles from the historic capital at Stirling, Deanston is a stones throw from Doune Castle and is at the entrance to the beautiful Trossachs region.
The building started life in 1785 as a weaving mill. Like other mill towns in Scotland (such as New Lanark) the mill had a dedicated village built next door for the workers and came complete with school and other public facilities. Deanston Mill was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland.
It wasn’t until 1965 that the mill was converted into the distillery and the first malt ‘old bannockburn’ was set down the next year.
Deanston uses water from the River Teith flows from Loch Venachar and Loch Lubnaig in the Trossachs. Uniquely it is used for two purposes; firstly in the production of whisky but also to run a turbine generator to power the plant.
Interestingly during the Napoleonic war there to a shortage of silver and gold to trade and as a result Deanston Mill was the first major company in Scotland to produce its own currency. Countermarked Spanish and French coin was issued as wages and to settle invoices. The practice was soon halted by the excise (tax man) who struggled to follow the accounting and levy the appropriate tax, but a few of these coins still exist and one is on display at the distillery.
The distillery has changed hands over the years and as a result of inactivity at Deanston between 1982 and 1990 it is not historically notable. That said, there are increasingly single malts available, produced from locally sourced ingredients that creates a fresh, honeyed sweet whisky. It is a good ’starting point’ for whisky newbies, partly because of its easy to drink and relatively inexpensive but also because it is so easily accessible from Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In June 2012, Burn Stewart Distillers opened a new visitor centre located in the former cotton mill canteen. Many of the original features are retained and hosts a gift shop which sells exclusive Deanston bottlings a tasting and presentations areas and is the start point of distillery tours.
Deanston featured as the distillery in the 2012 film ‘The Angels’ Share’. Film star Jasmin Riggins was present at the opening of the new visitors centre.