Ailsa Bay Distillery

Ailsa Bay distillery is named after the nearby bay which overlooks Ailsa Craig – an island based 9.9 miles off the coast. It famously provides blue hone granite for curling stones.

The Girvan distillery  has also incorporated the Ailsa Bay Distillery. The opening was attended by Prince Charles in 2009.

The Girvan distillery is a lowland grain whisky distillery located in South Ayrshire, Scotland. The distillery is owned by William Grant & Sons. The Girvan Distillery is one of the largest facilities in Scotland in which whisky is made. The distillery is named after the town of Girvan. The distillery is known as one of the most energy efficient distilleries in Scotland.

Girvan distillery was built in 1963 with the installation of its first Coffey still in 1963, which was celebrated with their first official bottling. The reason for William Grant & Sons building the distillery was because of a quarrel between the Grant family and DCL. Under the close eye of Charles Grant Gordon, the Girvan distillery was built and producing alcohol within nine months of ground break. The company introduced its export single grain whisky, Black Barrel in 1985 to the Spain, Portugal, and Italymarkets.

Ladyburn operated as a single malt distillery on site from 1965 until 1975.

  • Owner

    William Grant & Sons

  • Status


  • Country


  • Region


  • Production type:

    Single Malt, Blends

  • Founded


  • Production yearly

    12.000.000 Liters


There is a long history of malt distilleries being built within grain plants: Inverleven at Dumbarton (1959-1991), Ben Wyvis at Invergordon (1965-1977), Glen Flager and Killyloch at Garnheath (1965-1985), and Ladyburn at Girvan (1966-1976). All of them were built by blending firms and came into being at a time when an increase in production was deemed necessary. All then closed when a downturn in demand occurred.

It was a slightly different dynamic which prompted William Grant & Sons in 2007 to build Ailsa Bay on the same Girvan site where Ladyburn had once stood. This time not only were the Grant’s blends (the Family Reserve range and Clan MacGregor), both growing, but so was demand for its two flagship malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie. Pressure on the latter was the main reason for the construction of this eight still, 5m litres per annum capacity site.

After eight years of production, Ailsa Bay’s first official bottling as a single malt was a no-age-statement heavily peated whisky released in February 2016. The expression unleashed the full flexibility of Ailsa Bay’s production set up, combining innovative techniques in the way of spirit cut points, vatting, maturation and even ‘sweetness measurement’.

“Ailsa Bay contains 022PPM, which is assessed prior to bottling guaranteeing a more accurate measurement."
Ailsa Bay distillery

Distillery Facts

“Ailsa Bay is the first whisky to have an analyses measurement of sweetness identified. This is possible through a revolutionary precess defined by master blender Brain Kinsman. The whisky is defined as having 019 SPPM within it, which gives it the perfect balance between the peat and sweetness. "
Ailsa Bay distillery

Taste profile

Core range 

At this point Ailsa Bay core range is: 

  • Ailsa Bay NAS
  • Ailsa Bay NAS batch no.2
  • Aisla Bay release 1.2 Sweet Smoke

Visitor center 


Not open to the public 


Ailsa Bay Distillery
Grangestone Industrial Estate
KA26 9PT
United Kingdom

Ailsa Bay social media links

Livingbythedram social media links