Once the biggest distillery of any kind in Scotland, it had already closed – never to re-open – when I visited it in 1986. It had been part of the 1983 cull, and was already showing signs of neglect. Carsebridge had had a proud history going back to 1799, when it had started life as a Lowland malt distillery, switching to patent stills for grain whisky production around 1860.
The original owners, John Bald and Company, were active in promoting the interests of the Lowland distillers and eventually became major players in the formation in 1877 of The Distillers Company Limited (now Diageo). Carsebridge went on to become a major component in the DCL empire, all of the production going to blending once the sale of single grain whisky had become a lost cause.
Such was the scale of operation that no doubt Carsebridge grain whisky still goes into some of the current Diageo blends. That so little of it has found its way to the private bottlers, is an added frustration.