Wolfburn distillery

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Wolfburn distillery
Wolfburn logo.png
Region: Highland
LocationThurso, Caithness
Founded1822 (closed c. 1877 – reopened 2013)
Water sourceWolf Burn
No. of stills1 wash
1 spirit
Capacity115,000 litres
Cask type(s)American Oak Bourbon
Oak Quarter Cask
Bourbon Hogsheads
Oloroso sherry

Coordinates: 58°35′43″N 03°33′05″W / 58.59528°N 3.55139°W / 58.59528; -3.55139

Wolfburn distillery is a Scotch whisky distillery in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland. After ceasing production in the 1860s it reopened in 2013.


Wolfburn distillery was founded just to the west of the town of Thurso, Caithness,[1] in 1821[2] by William Smith.[3] The distillery was of considerable size for its day and ran as a successful commercial enterprise for several decades, being handed down through several generations of the Smith family.[4] It is thought to have ceased production during the 1850s, although the exact date is a matter of debate. The distillery appears on the first Ordnance Survey map of the area, dated 1872, marked as a ruin. The reasons for its demise are unclear - very little remains of the original distillery and there are no known photographs. However, records of its annual production volumes of whisky can be found in tax returns, which show it producing 28,056 “Total Gallons of Proof Spirit” during 1826[5] (roughly 125,000 litres) – making it the biggest distillery in Caithness at the time.


In 2012 a private consortium gained approval from the Caithness planning authorities to build a new Wolfburn distillery in Henderson Park, Thurso.[6][7][8] The new distillery is situated approximately 350 m from the site of the old one and draws its water from the Wolf Burn (stream), whence it gets its name. The reinvented Wolfburn site consists of four buildings: the distillery itself and three warehouses for the laying down of casks. Local fabricators Forsyths were contracted to install the distillery plant and equipment. Wolfburn is the most northerly whisky distillery on the Scottish mainland and produces single malt Scotch whisky. Production commenced in early 2013.[9]

In February 2016 the new Wolfburn distillery commenced bottling operations, in a purpose-built on-site bottling facility. The inaugural whisky was launched globally in March 2016 and has gone on to win three gold medal awards in consecutive international competitions. [10] [11] [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Farrell, S (2005w) 'Pennylands, Thurso, Highland (Thurso parish), watching brief', Discovery Excav Scot, vol.6 Page(s): 89
  2. ^ http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/jhb/whisky/dists.html List of Distilleries in Date order of Foundation (The University of Edinburgh)
  3. ^ http://www.whiskyportal.com/distillery.asp?DistilleryID=841&DistilleryName=Wolfburn+Distillery Wolfburn Distillery on The Whisky Portal
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Wolf Burn Wolfburn Distillery (90949)". Canmore. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  5. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=OjoSAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA243&lpg=RA1-PA243&dq=wolfburn+distillery&source=bl&ots=80cmGiyYlI&sig=VtvLzWNcB8XZ8snx0ffjTyuVMos&hl=en&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=wolfburn%20distillery&f=false House of Commons Papers, volume 34
  6. ^ http://thursotown.co.uk/news/archive/bid-to-revive-thurso-distillery-after-135-year-gap Bid to revive Thurso distillery after 135-year gap
  7. ^ http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/files/4964269841E51F2043DCC23DD7B134F3/pdf/12_01542_FUL-issued_DECISION_NOTICE-380758.pdf Caithness planning authorities decision notice
  8. ^ http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2755954 North distillery revival on cards
  9. ^ "New Wolfburn plant up and running".
  10. ^ http://www.whiskyintelligence.com/2017/02/triple-crown-for-wolfburn-whisky-news/
  11. ^ http://www.whiskytime-magazin.ch/blog/items/wolfburn-wins-gold.html
  12. ^ http://www.scottishfield.co.uk/us-success-for-wolfburn/

External links[edit]