Wolfburn distillery

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Wolfburn distillery
Region: Highland
Location Thurso, Caithness
Founded 1822 (closed circa 1877 - reopened 2013)
Status Operational
Water source Wolf Burn
Number of stills 1 wash
1 spirit
Capacity 115,000 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 1850s it reopened in 2013.


Wolfburn distillery was founded just to 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 350m from the site of the old one and draws its water from the Wolf Burn (stream) from whence it gets its name. The reinvented Wolfburn site consists of three buildings: the distillery itself and two warehouses for the laying down of casks. Local fabricators Forsyths were contracted to install the distillery plant and equipment. Wolfburn is the most northerly distillery on the Scottish mainland and produces single malt Scotch whisky. Production commenced in early 2013.[9]

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