Inver House

Inver House Distillers

  • Scotland

Gated entrance to Inver House industrial building

Name: Inver House Distillers
Address: Roughrigg Rd, Airdrie ML6 8FU, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1236 769377

History of Inver House Distillers

Inver House Distillers, established in 1964, initially operated as a subsidiary of Publicker Industries in Philadelphia. The company chose Airdrie, Lanarkshire, to construct the Moffat whisky complex on the grounds of the former Moffat Mills paper mill. This complex included the Glen Flagler malt whisky distillery and the Garnheath grain distillery.

By 1966, Inver House had opened a significant bottling plant in Airdrie, including Moffat, once Europe’s largest maltings. This malting operation was later sold to Associated British Maltsters in 1978.

The company acquired the Bladnoch distillery in Dumfries and Galloway to expand its operations in 1973. However, the decline in whisky demand and the death of Publicker Industries’ chairman led to a decreased interest in Scottish operations.

Consequently, Bladnoch was sold to Arthur Bell & Son in 1983, and the Glen Flagler site and the grain distillery closed down by 1986. Despite these closures, Inver House maintained its regional headquarters at the Airdrie site, utilising its warehousing and office facilities.

In 1988, Publicker Industries sold Inver House to its management team, who expanded operations by acquiring the Hankey Bannister brand from International Distillers & Vintners and the then inactive Knockdhu distillery from United Distillers.

To distinguish from the nearby Knockando distillery, the whisky was rebranded as anCnoc, named after a local hill, when distilling resumed in 1989.

Further acquisitions included the Speyburn distillery in Rothes in 1991 and the Pulteney distillery in Wick, Caithness, in 1995, both from United Distillers.

The following year, the company added the Balblair distillery, purchased from Allied Domecq.

In the same year, they acquired Balmenach distillery in Speyside, which had been inactive since 1993. Distilling resumed at Balmenach in 1998, where the group’s Caorunn gin is now produced.

The 21st century saw international interest in Inver House grow, leading to its purchase in 2001 by Pacific Spirit, later known as International Beverage Holdings, as part of the Thailand-based Thai Beverage Public Company (ThaiBev).

Awards Won by Inver House Distillers

  • 2017 Distiller of the Year: Awarded at the Icons of Whisky Scotland, this accolade recognised Inver House Distillers’ excellence in whisky distillation​​.
  • 2016 Distiller of the Year: At the Scotland round of Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky Awards, Inver House Distillers earned this prestigious title, showcasing their significant impact in the whisky industry​​.
  • Scottish Distiller of the Year: Inver House Distillers won this trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, a testament to their successful year and recognition for brands like Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc, Hankey Bannister, and Speyburn​.

Inver House Distillers Tour Information and Experience

Inver House Distillers offers a unique tour experience across its various distillery locations, each providing a distinctive insight into the whisky and gin-making process.

Caorunn Gin at Balmenach Distillery

Located near Grantown-on-Spey, Balmenach Distillery, where Caorunn Gin is produced, has seen a surge in visitor interest. The distillery celebrates the craft of gin-making, with its small brand home attracting numerous visitors.

The gin-making process here is unique, blending traditional malt whisky techniques with gin production.

Old Pulteney Distillery Tours

Situated in Wick on Scotland’s north-eastern shores, the Pulteney Distillery offers a range of tours that provide an in-depth look into the distillery’s operations.

Visitors can follow the journey of the single malt from its water source to the glass, learning about the distillery’s history and how Wick’s marine climate influences the spirit.

Various experiences are available, including ‘The Spirit of Wick’ tour which offers an introduction to Old Pulteney, and ‘The Fleet Experience’, a more comprehensive VIP tour​​.

Balblair Distillery

Known for its fruity and sweet whisky character, Balblair Distillery has modernised its approach while maintaining traditional methods.

The distillery’s core range has evolved to include a 12-year-old from Bourbon casks, a 15-year-old finished in Sherry butts, and an 18-year-old matured in both Bourbon and Sherry casks, among others.

Flask & Barrel Review of Inver House Distillers

As a seasoned whisky collector on numerous distillery tours, my experience at Inver House Distillers was pretty impressive, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s why:

Firstly, the variety of distilleries under the Inver House banner, each with its unique character, really stood out.

At Balmenach Distillery, the tour around Caorunn Gin’s production was a fresh twist. Fusing traditional malt whisky techniques with gin production was a fascinating and novel experience.

The Old Pulteney Distillery tour in Wick was another highlight. How they explained the impact of Wick’s marine climate on their whisky’s character added a new layer of appreciation for me.

It’s not just about the age or the cask; it’s also about where and how the whisky breathes. Their ‘Spirit of Wick’ tour was an educational delight, perfectly blending history with the technicalities of whisky-making.

Now, Balblair Distillery’s modern approach was something else, yet with a nod to tradition. The evolution of their core range, especially the variations in cask maturation, was a palate-pleasing experience.

Tasting the differences between Bourbon and Sherry casks and their production nuances added depth to my understanding of whisky-making.

The reason I’m not going all the way to a 5/5 is minor but worth noting.

While the tours were incredibly informative, I felt there could’ve been a tad more on the interactive side – perhaps more hands-on experiences or a deeper dive into the nuances of tasting notes for collectors like me. That said, the overall experience was top-notch.

In conclusion, Inver House Distillers is a must-visit if you’re into whisky or gin. It’s not just about sampling spirits; it’s a journey through history, craftsmanship, and the subtle art of distillation.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned collector, there’s something new and exciting to discover here.

What To Do Nearby Inver House Distillers

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: A renowned museum and art gallery in Glasgow, this is a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Airdrie, where Inver House Distillers is located.
  • Glasgow Cathedral: This historic cathedral, also in Glasgow, is known for its stunning architecture and rich history. It’s approximately a 30-minute drive from Airdrie.
  • Glasgow Science Centre: Ideal for families or anyone interested in science and technology, this interactive museum is a fun and educational experience. It’s located roughly 30 minutes by car from Airdrie.
  • Glasgow Botanical Gardens: For a peaceful day out, these gardens offer beautiful green spaces and a range of plant species. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, around 30 minutes from Airdrie.
  • The School of Art and University of Glasgow: If you’re interested in architecture and education, these iconic institutions in Glasgow are worth a visit, both within a 30-minute drive from Airdrie.
  • Merchant City: This area in Glasgow is known for its vibrant atmosphere, with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a great place to explore after your distillery tour, about 30 minutes away by car.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Inver House Distillers?

  • Dakota Bar and Grill: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441698835444. Their address is Parklands Ave, Motherwell ML1 4WQ, United Kingdom.
  • Bistro Anatolia: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    Their address is 80 Forrest St, Airdrie ML6 7AG, United Kingdom.
  • Hartys at the Fourways: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441236763498. Their address is 26-28 Black St, Airdrie ML6 6LX, United Kingdom. 

What hotels are near Inver House Distillers?

  • Premier Inn Glasgow (Bellshill) hotel: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +443337777283. Their address is New Edinburgh Rd, Glasgow ML4 3PD, United Kingdom.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Strathclyde: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441698395500. Their address is Phoenix Cres, Bellshill ML4 3JQ, United Kingdom.
  • Dakota Hotel Eurocentral: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441698835444. Their address is Parklands Ave, Motherwell ML1 4WQ, United Kingdom.