On Monday 11 March 2019 25 members of Headway North Cumbria visited the Annandale Distillery for a guided tour followed by afternoon tea.
Annandale Distillery was established by businessman George Donald in 1836, and owned and operated by the Donald family until 1883. Another businessman, John Sykes Gardner, upgraded the site and held onto it until 1893 when it came into the ownership of Johnnie Walker and Sons. The Distillery team believe that Annandale would have produced peated whisky for Johnnie Walker’s blended whisky. The site was closed after WWI and, used as farm buildings, fell into disrepair.
It was many years later in 2006 that Teresa Church and Professor David Thomson (born and raised in nearby Dumfries) discovered Annandale in the pages of ‘Scotch Missed’, a compendium of lost whisky distilleries. They immediately set about purchasing the site and eight years and £14m later, Annandale Distillery opened its doors and began production in 2014.
We were split into two groups for the hour-long guided tour where we had the opportunity to learn about the history of Annandale Distillery and discovered how Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made. The tour finished with a tasting of the Distillery’s Single Cask, Single Malt Scotch whiskies – Man O’Words and Man O’Sword – and their Clear Malt Spirit – Rascally Liquor.
Following the tour we will had afternoon tea at the Distillery’s Maltings Coffee House – the former malting floor which has been lovingly restored and converted into a cosy retreat, complete with handcrafted furniture by local craftsman Ian Cameron Smith. The delicious afternoon tea comprised a selection of handmade sandwiches, savoury treats, homemade sweet and savoury scones with Galloway Lodge jam, clotted cream & butter and a selection of cakes and traybakes.
The visit was greatly enjoyed by all and Headway North Cumbria would like to thank the team at Annandale Distillery for looking after us so well, Ben and Frederick for conducting the guided tours and the team at the Maltings Coffee House for laying on such a magnificent spread. We are particularly grateful for the support and consideration provided to those members of our group that were unable to complete the full tour. We would also like to thank Cumbria Community Transport for providing a minibus, and Phil Hadwin for driving for us once again.
The photos included within this article are a combination of the Distillery’s own publicity photographs as well as some taken during Headway North Cumbria’s visit. A full set of photos can be found on the gallery page in a photo album called “Annandale Distillery” and can also be viewed below: