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Drink Production

Diageo to Daftmill - Massive to Micro

Fife is home to the  150-acre Banbeath site owned by drinks producing giant Diageo at Leven, (www.diageo.com) where it packages white spirits, Ready to Drink products, and Scotch malt whiskies, and the scale of operations results in some astonishing statistics. There is near continuous bottling of Smirnoff vodka and Gordon’s Gin, at the rate of around 500 bottles a minute. 1400 different products are produced at the Leven site, and are shipped off to 180 countries. There are around 200 million litres of alcohol on site at any one time. Diageo also runs Cameron Bridge Distillery near Leven, where 100 million litres of spirits are produced every year. They include grain whisky, Smirnoff, Gordon’s Gin and Tanqueray

Right at the other end of the scale is the recently established family run Daftmill Distillery near Cupar (www.daftmill.com)

 Back in 2003 brothers Francis and Ian Cuthbert applied for planning permission to convert an old mill on their land- and the result is one of Scotland’s newest and smallest malt whisky distilleries. A licence to distil was granted by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on St Andrews Day 2005 and the first whisky was produced later that year. It uses barley grown at Daftmill, and water drawn from an artesian well at the farm. It is maturing in bourbon casks from Heavenhill Distillery in Kentucky. Although Scotch whisky can be sold after three years, the Cuthberts expect to hold their product for at least ten years before it reaches the market. Apart from the copper stills, which were made in Rothes, all work on the distillery was carried out by people within a five mile radius of the farm.

The award winning Spencerfield Spirit Company (www.spencerfieldspirit.com ) has its home in a 16th century farmhouse overlooking the Forth Rail Bridge.

It was set up by former marketing director of Glenmorangie, and whisky aficionado, Alex Nicol, who along with his wife Jane, is dedicated to providing a quality niche alternative to the more conventional mainstream brands.

Their flagship product, the irreverently named Sheep Dip, was developed in 1970, with its stablemate Pig's Nose being launched three years later. Both whiskies have recently been joined by Edinburgh Gin and the 1990 Old Hebridean, a first vintage for Sheep Dip.

Central to the Spencerfield products is Richard Paterson, a third-generation Master Blender.

History of brewing in the St Andrews area

The development of the new Eden Brewery in North East Fife recognises growing interest in craft beers locally and nationally.

Located on the site of the former Guardbridge Paper Mill, the brewery has already had a great reception for its first beers in both cask and bottles.

The man behind the venture Fife businessman Paul Miller, who developed his products in Alloa and Bridge of Allan in advance of full production starting at Guardbridge.

Paul has a background of some 30 years in the trade with beer, whisky, wine and governmental roles. He has been chair of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) and vice president of Scottish Beer and Pub Association

He is also fascinated by the history of brewing, and working with Fife – based brewery and beer historian John Reade he has been able to discover a rich local story.

John is part of the team at the Eden Brewery, and he has put together a wonderful account, complete with images, of some of the brewing history in the St Andrews area.

To read John’s feature please click on the link below. It can also be accessed in the Food History section of our website.

St Andrews brewing history


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