Clydeside Distillery – Glasgow’s whisky distillery on the River Clyde

The Clydeside Distillery is the youngest whisky distillery in Glasgow. And yet it is deeply rooted in Glasgow’s past and the River Clyde. What can you expect when you visit?

Clydeside Distillery
Clydeside Distillery

It fits right in here. Even just visually. The building of the Clydeside Distillery reflects the tradition of the old shipyards and industries that once stood here on the River Clyde. The old hydraulic pumping station was once an important part of this. Built in 1877 in the Italian style, “The Pumphouse” supplied the Queen’s Dock with energy – including, for example, the nearby Finnieston Crane.

However, the old pumping station is now adjoined by a rather modern, angular building with lots of glass at the front. A clear link to the new buildings on the Clyde, such as the SECC or the Science Museum opposite, which also boast glass and clear edges.

An das Pumphouse wurde ein moderner Bau mit Glasfront angeschlossen
A modern building with a glass front was connected to the Pumphouse

In general, this is certainly THE theme of the Clydeside Distillery: building on tradition with modern means. At least that’s what the multimedia exhibition at the start of a tour of the distillery shows. It traces how whisky was once shipped all over the world from the docks on the Clyde and which whisky barons there once were in Glasgow.

Ein Blick in die Whisky-Geschichte Glasgows
A look at Glasgow’s whisky history

The “Dockside Story” exhibition also looks at the history of the dock. This may seem out of place at first, but it has a simple background: the Queen’s Dock was once built by an ancestor of distillery owner Tim Morrison. Another link between past and present.

Die Geschichte der Docks
The history of the docks

Photos and films show some really interesting shots. For example, the area where there is now a car park and the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) was once the dock and was under water.

Nevertheless, it is a distillery and the tour is designed to show how whisky is distilled – a topic that every distillery tour covers. Does this tour manage to surprise you?

Mash Tun
Mash Tun

Of course, it doesn’t reinvent the production of whisky, but the little things in it can certainly inspire. For example, the fact that the water comes from the marvellous Loch Katrine – and not from the river that flows past the doors.

This is of course only moderately surprising, as the river is of course too dirty and the drinking water for the whole of Glasgow comes from Loch Katrine. But the fact that Morrison’s ancestor also had a hand in building the water supply is another interesting aspect.

Another good thing is that the Clydeside Distillery does not hide its equipment behind wooden facades, as many traditional distilleries do. Cool metal under neon lights instead of an artificial ambience.

Mash Tuns
Mash Tuns

Another surprise in the next room. This is where the stills are located.

Brennblasen der Clydeside Distillery
Stills of the Clydeside Distillery

So far, so normal. The master distillers have filled the first run, the actual distillate and the last run of the distilling process into three bottles. And they actually look completely different. You don’t see that everywhere.

The pre-distillate has a strong blue colour – this comes from the copper that is washed out with it. The usable spirit, the newmake spirit, is clear. It goes into the barrels. And finally, the final product, the low wines.

Vorlauf, Destillat und Nachlauf von Whisky
Pre-run, distillate and post-run of whisky

Finally, the tour ends in the tasting room. Here you can also sample the New Make Spirit, which is even available to buy. There are also other whiskies that represent the different flavours. The connoisseur can learn about typical flavours and test them straight away.

Tasting Tisch am Ende der Tour
Tasting table at the end of the tour

If you want to stock up on various whiskies afterwards, you can do so in the well-stocked shop at Clydeside Distillery.

Clydesides New Make Spirit
Clydeside’s New Make Spirit

In the end, one thing is certain: the Clydeside Distillery in Glasgow is not reinventing whisky – that is not its claim. But in terms of architecture and presentation, it manages to combine old and new in a stimulating way. A few touches during the tour are enough to make it interesting. For me, a worthwhile visit.

Tip: Walk along Clydeside

It’s a great walk up the River Clyde from the distillery. You can take a look at the two steamers on the other side, the Waverley and the Queen Mary.

Die Waverley und die Queen Mary beim Glasgow Science Centre
The Waverley and the Queen Mary at the Glasgow Science Centre

You can also reach the Finnieston Crane, the SECC and the “Armadillo” – both halls are buildings of modern architecture on the Clyde. You can cross over to the other side via the Clyde Arch and back again at the Millennium Bridge.

How to get there:

Public: The Citysightseeing bus stops directly outside the Clydeside Distillery. Alternative: The nearest train stop is the Exhibition Centre, which is served by trains from Central Station.

With satnav: “G3 8QQ” will take you very close.

Without sat nav: The Clydeside Distillery is located directly on the A814, which can be reached from the M8 via junction 19 “Clydebank S.E.C.C.”. There are several car parks right outside the door.

Clydeside Distillery Infos

What it isClydeside Distillery is Glasgow's newest whisky distillery right on the River Clyde on the old Queen's Dock.

Opening hoursSummer:
(last tour 16:30)
(last tour 16:00)

Entry feesAdults: 18.50 pounds
Reduced price: 16.50 pounds
Children (8-17): 5 pounds
Families: 40 pounds
(as of 2024)

Mapcode for TomTom0BL.16
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Postcode for Satnav"G3 8QQ"

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