Brechin/North Port Distillery
Probably one of the saddest places I visited on my Barnard re-run, noting that, having closed three years previously in 1983, “North Port had been allowed to lapse into a state of total neglect as if to emphasize the end of its days as a producer of spirits. My task, therefore, was no more than to record its existence at the point of time of my tour before it finally sank from trace after more than 160 years of distilling”. And that was that. The buildings were demolished in 1994 to be replaced by a supermarket!
Brechin distillery, as it was originally known, was built in 1820 by David Guthrie. It remained with various of the Guthrie’s and in different forms until 1922 when it was acquired jointly by DCL and W.H. Holt & Co. Ltd. It was transferred that year to DCL’s subsidiary, Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd., who shut it down in 1926 until 1937. It was closed again from 1940 to 1947. At some point prior to the 1922 acquisition the name was changed to North Port. This referred to the northern gate near to where the distillery stood when Brechin was encircled by ancient city walls.
North Port/Brechin was essentially a whisky for blending although a little was sold as a single malt under the name of Glen Dew, exclusively for the Italian market. It was marketed by the DCL subsidiary, Mitchell Brothers Limited, which held the license for North Port. The label for the 5 years old looks intriguingly like the Glen Grant 5 years old single malt, which was a huge seller in Italy! Much later some of the whisky was bottled, both officially in the Rare Malts series and privately by some of the better known independents.