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Timeline of 158 Scottish Single Malt Distilleries

Updated: Mar 5

Strathisla distillery Speyside

Image by Strathisla Distillery

Jump to distilleries by alphabet | A | B | C-D | E-G | H-K | L-M | N-S | T-W

The history of whisky distilleries is fascinating. Scotland has had many distilleries over the years, with some of them producing whisky illegally before it became mandatory to obtain a distilling license under the 1823 Excise Act.

However, the whisky distilling industry has always faced challenges. It has been impacted by world wars, a decrease in demand due to economic depression, and unscrupulous snake oil sellers. Three downturns can be easily identified, during which many distilleries did not survive.

The Pattinson Crisis of the late 1890s - caused people to lose faith in the quality of whisky

World War I & II 1914-1945 - caused many distillery closures and mothballing

The 1980s - overproduction led to closures and mothballing

There have been three periods of elevated whisky production, known as the Golden Ages. The most recent Golden Age is currently ongoing due to increased demand and the establishment of new distilleries.


Some Results & Facts

We have compiled a timeline of 158 Scottish single malt whisky distilleries, including their establishment years, periods of inactivity, and closures. We did this out of curiosity and to have some fun. After analysing the information, we discovered some interesting statistics about these distilleries. Here are a few of them:

26/95 distilleries mothballed during WWI

50/95 distilleries mothballed during WWII

11/158 were established before 1800 - 9 of which are still operational

91/158 were established before 1900 - 75 of which are still operational

1946-1980 - 24 new single malt distilleries were established

17/112 single malt distilleries were mothballed in the 1980s - 15/112 closed leaving 90 open

In the 90s further 6 were closed

After the year 2000 - 40 new distilleries have been established (Please note that we have decided to exclude distilleries established in late 2021, 2022 and 2023 due to available data)

We have chosen a total of 158 single malt distilleries, out of which 130 are currently operational. We have also included 28 closed distilleries in our selection, which produce whiskies that are still available or highly sought-after. However, it is important to note that there are many closed distilleries in Scotland, and it would be impractical to include all of them in our selection.

To gather the information, we have used the following books as references:

Misako Udo - The Scottish Whisky Distilleries

Lists around 760 distilleries from the "beginning of time" - Published 2005

Ingvar Ronde - Malt Whisky Yearbook 2022

Lists 130 currently operational Scottish single malt distilleries - Published 2021

Brian Townsend - Scotch Missed

Lists 109 closed Scottish distilleries - 4th Edition - Published 2015

Great whisky books

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


The Timeline

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries A

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries B

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries C to D

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries E to G

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries G

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries H to K

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries L to M

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries N to S

Timeline Scottish whisky distilleries T to W

All Timeline Images by The Whisky Ardvark


Thank you for reading!

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