When I visited the distillery in 1987 it was still fully operational and remained so until 1993 when it was closed due, it is said, to the likely cost of refurbishment of the effluent treatment plant. Its location on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, which by then had fallen into disuse if not downright neglect, was no doubt a contributing factor.
The records pertaining to the early days of Rosebank are sketchy. A distillery of that name was operating in Falkirk from 1817 to 1819 but the distillery, as we know it, is said to have been established a bit later in 1840, on the site of the old Camelon distillery maltings. Further changes took place over the years but expansion plans were always constrained by the limited space available in what was always essentially a busy urban setting.
Rosebank’s two main distinctions were a) that it was one of the very few distilleries in Scotland still practising triple distillation; and b) it was one of the five Lowland distilleries, which combined in 1914 to form Scottish Malt Distillers Limited, within DCL. This first distinction most likely led to Rosebank being bottled officially as a single malt at 8 years old, from at least the early 1980’s, if not earlier. This was marketed through the Distillers Agency, a DCL subsidiary, which held the distilling license for Rosebank.
Diageo eventually sold the Rosebank site to British Waterways in 2002. However, in October 2017 Ian Macleod Distillers announced its intention to purchase the site from them and reopen the distillery, having separately acquired the Rosebank trademark from Diageo.