Where to drink whisky in the UK

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Map created: the UK has almost 100 distilleries
Map created: the UK has almost 100 distilleries
The first interactive map of whisky has been released, marking every whisky distillery across the UK.

The map, created by hotel group Premier Inn, shows 96 distilleries across the UK and highlights the geographical hot spots of whisky making in the country.

Unsurprisingly, Scotland dominates the map with 76 distilleries north of the border. Although many are in the islands and Highlands, for drinkers looking for a whisky city, Glasgow is the best option with The Clydesdale Distillery and Auchentoshan Distillery both within easy distance.  

Premier Inn said there was a huge 1.23bn bottles of Scotch whisky exported last year alone and it was no wonder Scottish distilleries dominate the map.

Cluster of distilleries

Among the 76 Scottish sites are the two oldest whisky distilleries in the UK as both Glenturret and Bowmore distilleries claim this title, saying to have been founded in 1775 and 1779 respectively.

However, the map shows that drinkers won’t miss out if they are unable to travel to Scotland. There are a cluster of distilleries in other parts of the UK, from the Penderyn Distillery in Wales to the Isle of Wight Distillery.

Even London is home to three whisky makers – the Bimber Distillery, near Acton in north London; The London Distillery Company near Bermondsey in south London; and the East London Liquor Company in Stratford, east London – all relatively new distilleries that are looking to challenge the more established, famous names in Scotland.

Whisky statistics

Meanwhile, figures have found that operators shouldn’t shy away from the ‘water of life’​ because it can offer opportunities to save money and time while pleasing whisky and non-whisky drinkers alike.

Some 12% of UK consumers drink whisky when imbibing in the on-trade, equating to 5.8m people, according to data expert CGA. But operators need to do more to keep the category at the forefront of drinkers’ minds.

CGA commercial director Graeme Loudon says: “The Scotch category continues to offer a polarised performance. Although total Scotch whisky is in 6% volume decline, which is mainly driven by mainstream blends, growth is being achieved by malt whisky (up 1.4% in volume) and super-premium blends.

“The trend of premiumisation is not new to the on-trade and the Scotch category is a good example of this trend at work.

“Malts account for just 23% of Scotch volume, but its higher price point means it commands 32% of the value.

“Consumers are trading up into super-premium blends or even into malts as their palate matures and have been moving out of mainstream blends – this drives value ahead of volume. Having said this, the mainstream blend market is by far the biggest sector of the Scotch market and accounts for the majority of the volume.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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