Deanston is a Scottish whisky distillery on the banks of the River Teith, eight miles from Stirling. The building was originally a cotton mill but was converted in the 1960s. Today it is owned and operated by the South Africa-based Distell Group Ltd.
Deanston produces a Highland single malt Scotch whisky. It is sweet, honeyed, malty and slightly waxy. The spirit is light to medium-bodied.
Deanston produces its single malt from 100% Scottish barley. The grain is milled then mashed in an open-topped mash tun, the only one of its size in Scotland.
There are four pot stills. Each one has lyne arms that slope gently upwards. This makes it harder for heavier compounds to come through in the spirit.
Long fermentation times and slow, patient distillation encourages fruity flavours and creates a waxy character in the spirit.
Deanston matures in a combination of bourbon whiskey casks, virgin American oak and sherry casks. Other cask types have been used for special editions like the Bordeaux Red Wine Cask Finish expression.
Once a year the distillery produces a spirit made from organic barley.
The distillery’s power comes from its own turbine house. The facility processes 20 million litres of water every hour. Around 75% of the electricity generated is sold back to the national grid.
The Deanston cotton mill was founded by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1785. It was powered by the River Teith, which flowed alongside. By 1833, the mill was using the largest water wheel in Europe. The surrounding village was built to provide housing for the workers and their families. The mill closed, after 180 years, on the 2nd of April 1965.
The 1960s saw the Scotch whisky industry finally shake off the after-effects of World War II. Mothballed distilleries reopened and new builds were commissioned for the first time in decades. A partnership between James Finlay & Co, Brodie Hepburn & Co and A. B. Grant converted Deanston mill into a distillery.
Three floors were removed to make way for four copper pot stills. The old weaving shed with its vaulted ceiling and cool, even temperature became warehousing for up to 45,000 casks. A new building was constructed to house the distillery’s eight washbacks.
Deanston distillery opened on the 17th of October 1966. The first single malt arrived in 1971, bottled as Old Bannockburn. The owners also produced a blended Scotch whisky called Teith Mill.
In 1971, Invergordon Distillers bought Brodie Hepburn, gaining a 30% share in Deanston in the process. A year later they took full control. They released the first single malt to carry the Deanston name in 1974.
The 1980s saw the Scotch industry fall into decline. Several distilleries across Scotland were closed or mothballed. Deanston halted production in 1982 and remained silent for eight long years.
The distillery was saved from long-term closure when it was purchased by Burn Stewart in 1990. A new visitor centre and cafe were opened in 2012, offering an array of tours and tastings to distillery guests.
In 2013, Burn Stewart was acquired by Distell for £160 million. The deal included Deanston, Tobermory and Bunnahabhain distilleries.