The entrance to Glenkinchie Distillery

The Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker

Gray & Dick are proud to have contributed to this Scottish Design Award nominated project.

Glenkinchie Distillery, Scotland

Glenkinchie Distillery is a Scotch single malt whisky distillery in East Lothian

George Bernard Shaw said, “whiskey is liquid sunshine.” If it is both whisky and sunshine that Shaw liked then the recent redevelopment of Glenkinchie Distillery would be to his taste. Gray & Dick are proud to have designed the feature window and entranceway to this Scottish Design Award nominated project.

The Garden Distillery
Glenkinchie, known as The Garden Distillery, is the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker. Situated in East Lothian, 15 miles from Edinburgh, this Victorian distillery and orchard gardens distils the Edinburgh Malt that is enjoyed both on its own and as an essential component of Johnnie Walker whiskies.

In early 2019, plans were approved to transform Glenkinchie’s Victorian-era red brick warehouse buildings into a multi-level cultural and sensory visitor experience, telling the stories of Glenkinchie, its 125-year partnership with Johnnie Walker and its contributions to Scotch whisky. The multi-million revamp opened safely for visitors in May 2021 with a new welcome lounge, upgraded retail unit, bar and cocktail-making classroom, tasting rooms and cask draw experience. The famous Glenkinchie scale model whisky distillery - originally built for the 1925 Empire Exhibition - had also been enhanced, with new digital and interactive storytelling elements.


A sustainable redevelopment
Working for client Diageo and with lead architect Michael Laird Architects, Gray & Dick operated as specialist design contractor on elements including the Rimex architectural cladding, the feature window and the entranceway. From the outset the arrival experience was recognised as a crucial aspect of the project, with the resultant feature window and entrance design enabling views of the rolling hills of East Lothian and providing connection with the communities for whom the Distillery was once a central part of life; and allowing light deep into the building.

Retention of the traditional brickwork in the redesigned entranceway served to preserve and enhance the character of the listed building and create a stunning effect when juxtaposed with the modern feature window. This use and reuse of original materials in the redevelopment meant that the client’s expectations of ‘zero waste to landfill’ were met. Glenkinchie has since received a Gold Award for Green Tourism.

Glenkinchie’s nomination for a prestigious Scottish Design Award under the Building Re-use category is further testament to the calibre of this project. We wish Michael Laird Architects the best of luck for the awards ceremony in July.

Gray & Dick is thrilled to have been part of the Glenkinchie Distillery project to create a world-class, immersive visitor experience in the heart of the local community. We raise a glass of Scotch whisky to all involved in its future. 

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