Glenkinchie Distillery, located in East Lothian, Scotland, is a renowned whisky distillery that has been producing some of the world’s finest whiskies for over 180 years. Known as the “Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker,” Glenkinchie is one of the four corners of Scotland that Diageo, the company that owns the distillery, uses to represent the country’s whisky-making regions.

The distillery produces a range of whiskies, including the Glenkinchie 12 Year Old, which is a classic example of a Lowland style whisky. This whisky is known for its light and fragrant flavours, which are reminiscent of fresh and fragrant flowers, dried cut grass, and nutty cereal. The Glenkinchie 12 Year Old is a favourite among whisky enthusiasts and is enjoyed by people all over the world.

Glenkinchie Distillery is located just 15 miles from Edinburgh, making it a popular destination for tourists visiting the city. The distillery is situated in the village of Pencaitland and is easily accessible from Princes Street in Edinburgh. Visitors to the distillery can take a tour of the facilities and learn about the history of the distillery and the whisky-making process.

History and Ownership

Founding and Early Years

Glenkinchie Distillery is a Lowland distillery located in East Lothian, Scotland, and is known for producing a light, floral single malt Scotch whisky. The distillery was founded in 1837 by brothers John and George Rate, who converted an old sawmill into a distillery. The location was chosen due to the abundance of barley and pure water from the Lammermuir Hills.

In the early years, Glenkinchie was primarily used to produce whisky for blending purposes. However, in the 1890s, it became one of the first distilleries to market its single malt whisky under its own name.

Ownership Changes

Over the years, Glenkinchie has changed ownership several times. In 1890, the distillery was sold to James Grey, who later sold it to a consortium of Lowland distilleries in 1914. The consortium was later acquired by Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), which was in turn acquired by Diageo in 1986.

Current Ownership

Today, Glenkinchie is owned by Diageo and is part of the Classic Malts brand, which includes other famous distilleries such as Lagavulin and Talisker. The distillery is also a member of Green Tourism, an organization that promotes sustainable tourism.

Visitors to Glenkinchie can take a tour of the distillery, which includes a visit to the museum and a tasting of the whisky. The distillery is also a popular destination for whisky enthusiasts, and its single malt is a key component of Johnnie Walker blends.

Ownership history of Glenkinchie Distillery:

Year Owner
1837 John and George Rate
1890 James Grey
1914 Consortium of Lowland distilleries
1930 Scottish Malt Distillers
1986 Diageo

Key points:

  • Glenkinchie Distillery was founded in 1837 by John and George Rate.
  • The distillery was primarily used for blending purposes until the 1890s.
  • Glenkinchie has changed ownership several times and is currently owned by Diageo.
  • The distillery is part of the Classic Malts brand and is a member of Green Tourism.
  • Visitors can take a tour of the distillery and taste the whisky.
  • Glenkinchie’s single malt is a key component of Johnnie Walker blends.

Location and Access

Geographical Context

Glenkinchie Distillery is located in the Lowland region of Scotland, in East Lothian. The distillery is situated near the village of Pencaitland, and is surrounded by beautiful countryside. The Kinchie Burn, which runs through the distillery grounds, provides a source of water for the production of Glenkinchie’s whisky.

Transport Links

Public Transport

There are several public transport options available for visitors to Glenkinchie Distillery. The nearest railway station is Prestonpans, which is approximately 8 miles away. From there, visitors can take a taxi or bus to the distillery. The bus service is limited, with only a few buses running each day, so visitors are advised to check the timetable in advance.


Glenkinchie Distillery is easily accessible by road, with the Millerhill exit from the A68 providing direct access to the distillery. Visitors travelling from Edinburgh city centre can reach the distillery in approximately 30 minutes by car.

Shuttle Bus

Glenkinchie Distillery operates a shuttle bus service from Edinburgh city centre during the summer months. The bus departs from the Sheriffhall Roundabout and takes visitors directly to the distillery. This service is a convenient option for visitors who do not wish to drive.


Taxis are available from Edinburgh city centre and other nearby towns, such as Haddington and Jedburgh. Visitors are advised to book a taxi in advance, particularly during peak tourist season.


The nearest railway station to Glenkinchie Distillery is Prestonpans, which is served by trains from Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed. From the station, visitors can take a taxi or bus to the distillery.


For visitors travelling by bicycle, there is a cycle route that runs past Glenkinchie Distillery. The B6355 road also provides access to the distillery, and there is ample car parking available on site.

The postcode for Glenkinchie Distillery is EH34 5ET.

That’s all for the section on Location and Access.

Visitor Experience

Tours and Experiences

Glenkinchie Distillery offers a range of tours and experiences for whisky lovers and tourists alike. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide interesting insights into the distillery’s history, production process and the various types of whisky produced.

Visitors can choose from a variety of tours, including the Classic Tour, which includes a guided tour of the distillery and a tasting of two Glenkinchie whiskies, or the Manager’s Tour, which includes a more in-depth tour of the distillery, a tasting of four whiskies and a visit to the warehouse to see the maturation process.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, the Whisky and Chocolate Tour provides a unique tasting experience where guests can sample different whiskies paired with artisan chocolates.


The distillery’s retail area offers a range of Glenkinchie whiskies, as well as branded merchandise and souvenirs. Visitors can purchase exclusive bottlings, including a 20-year-old single malt and limited edition releases.


Glenkinchie Distillery hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including whisky tastings, food and whisky pairing events and cocktail masterclasses. The distillery’s events calendar can be found on their website.

Safety and Sustainability

Glenkinchie Distillery places a strong emphasis on safety and sustainability. The distillery has implemented various measures to ensure the safety of visitors and staff, including regular risk assessments and health and safety training.

In terms of sustainability, the distillery has reduced its carbon footprint through the installation of energy-efficient equipment and practices, and has implemented a waste management system to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Distillery Tours and Tourism

Glenkinchie Distillery is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The distillery’s tours provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about the history and production of Scotch whisky, and to sample some of Glenkinchie’s award-winning whiskies.


Glenkinchie whiskies are versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of cocktails. The distillery offers cocktail masterclasses where guests can learn how to make classic cocktails with a Glenkinchie twist.


Glenkinchie Distillery is located in East Lothian, approximately 15 miles from Edinburgh. The address is Glenkinchie Distillery, Pencaitland, Tranent EH34 5ET.

Whisky Production

Lowland Style Whisky

Glenkinchie distillery is known for producing Lowland style whiskies. This style is characterized by its light and floral notes, with a subtle sweetness and a gentle spice. The distillery uses locally sourced barley and water from the Lammermuir Hills to create its unique flavour profile.

The whisky is distilled in copper pot stills, which help to create a smooth and delicate spirit. The stills are among the largest in Scotland, allowing for a slower distillation process that helps to preserve the character of the whisky.

Signature Whiskies

Glenkinchie produces a range of signature whiskies, each with its own distinct flavour profile. The 12 year old is a classic expression, with a light and delicate character that is perfect for sipping on a warm summer evening. It has a subtle sweetness and a gentle spice, with notes of honey, vanilla, and citrus.

The Distiller’s Edition is another popular expression, which is aged in Amontillado sherry casks for an extra layer of complexity. It has a rich and fruity flavour, with notes of dried fruit, nuts, and spice.

Finally, the 20 year old is a rare and special expression, aged for two decades in oak casks. It has a deep and complex flavour profile, with notes of toffee, dark chocolate, and espresso.