A spiritual community named the Findhorn Foundation were formed in the local area during the 1960s. They still reside in the sand dunes to the north of Benromach and some of the community live in converted washback tanks from the distillery.
Benromach Distillery and Malt Whisky Centre
tel - +44(0)1309 675 968
web - www.benromach.com
Tours through Benromach Distillery are available Monday to Friday, February through to December, plus Saturdays and Sundays during summer. Charges apply.
Benromach is the smallest distillery still operating in the Speyside region of Scotland, with a capacity of just 500,000 litres per year and just two distillery staff. It is located in the small town of Forres, on the road between Inverness and Nairn, and is a local landmark with the tall red brick chimney of the distillery used as a marker guide for pilots landing at nearby RAF Kinloss. Benromach is one of the few distilleries that are independently owned. The current owners are the independent bottling company Gordon & Macphail, who are based in the nearby town of Elgin. At Benromach, they are one of the new wave of small, innovative and independently owned distilleries that experiment and explore different cask finishes, new styles and peating levels. They were also the first distillery to release an organic whisky, as certified by the Soil Association, in 2006.
The Benromach distillery was founded in 1898 by Duncan MacCullum from Campbeltown and F.W. Brickman from Leith. They were given land by a local whisky connoisseur called Alexander Edward so as to build a distillery and produce whisky to his tastes. It wasn’t long before Brickman’s company went bust and he had to pull out, leaving MacCullum to struggle on by himself. MacCullum was declared bankrupt in 1909 and Benromach was taken over by London based firm Harvey McNair & Co, who changed the name to Forres Distillery. In 1919 John Joseph Calder, a reknowned brewer from Alloa, bought the distillery and changed the name back to Benromach. The distillery was closed between 1931 and 1939, due to the slump that hit the whisky industry following the First World War and prohibition in America. It was re-opened by Joseph Hobbs, formerly of Ben Nevis distillery, and Hattim Attari, a financier from London. They later sold to a group called the National Distillers of America, who in sold to DCL (Distillers Company Limited) in the 1960s. Benromach closed again in 1983 and it was sold to the independent bottling company Gordon & Macphail in 1992. They completely refurbished the distillery and production began in 1998, with the inauguration ceremony attended by Prince Charles.