Port Dundas Distillery

It’s funny, isn’t it – when Diageo announced that they would be closing the historic Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, marches through the streets protesting about the job losses, and questions in parliament. However, like most explorers, my first thought was “that one is going on the list”.

Port Dundas is, oddly, on top of a hill several miles from the river – it’s next to the Forth and Clyde canal, though, which was used for transporting grain to the distillery and the nearby Spiers Wharf warehouses and sugar refinery. The distillery was originally built by J. Gourlay & Co. in 1820, but it has been rebuilt, expanded and modified many times since then. The last owner is drinks giant Diageo, who used it to make Bells and Johnnie Walker among others. First stop was the dark grains plant (I’m not an expert on distilleries – no idea what all this means!)

Inside, it’s plumbing city:

A control room:

One of several gas turbines used for process heat and power:

Climbing up into the structure:

Back down, and into the office and admin area:


The main control room:

Next, onto the brewing, mashing and distilling buildings:

With another control room:

Into an older part of the distillery – some parts here had some very old stone walls – lovely…

On to the distilling section. I had hoped that this place would have the sweet smells of whisky, but no – it smelled strongly of flying rat, and it was skankier than many power stations I’ve seen.

There were loads of flykillers everywhere, and I was accompanied by the continuous buzzing, crackling sound of small flying creatures being vapourised.

And one more view of the mashing section, on the way out:

8 Responses

  1. Port Dundas has been demolished and cleared. Diageo also closed Kilmarnock bottling plant. 6/7/12 Diageo announce new distillery to open in Scotland. Alex Salmond welcomes this. I know people who lost jobs in both these plants, in areas of high unemployment, who may never work again. Demand for Scotch has gone up, so I wonder why these working plants were closed. For jobs, architecture and history it is a crying shame.

  2. I worked at The Port Dundas Distillery for 38 yrs worked in Central processing area
    The Mashhouse started 1972 to 2010
    Was a process operator in Mshhouse taking in grain and cooking grain prior to
    Sending to Tunroom for fermentation
    Was a great place to work
    Many happy memories and great workmates closed November 2010
    Jim gray

    1. Hi Jim, reading your post about working in Port Dundas Distillery, I thought you would be just the man to ask a question?, im 42 yrs old and lost touch with my dad years ago, he worked in port dundas most of his life, and was there throughout the 1970’s as I was born in 72, his name was Samuel Moore, he was from Stonyhurst street in possilpark, he was a tall man with dark hair and smoked a cigar all the time, he was born in 1935 to give you a rough idea of his age?, in your time at port dundas does anything I have mentioned ring any bells?, as he has grand kids now that he don’t know about, and I have not seen or heard from him in many a year?, any information or places I could look up in my search would be very helpful sir, thanks for reading this and anything at all you might know or not?? would be great to find out.

      Many Thanks


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