Douglas Laing, independent spirit bottler, is now in the distilling business after buying Strathearn Distillery near Perth. We have the full story. 

It has just been announced that Douglas Laing has taken 100% ownership of Strathearn for an undisclosed sum. The Perthshire distillery, which has been producing spirit since 2013, was one of the first of a new wave of small Scottish distilleries. It released its first batch of single malt in 2017 and also produces gin, rum and cider brandy. Founder and head distiller Tony Reeman-Clark will no longer be involved with the business. The acquisition is the first venture into distilling for this old family firm though there are plans for a purpose-built distillery in Glasgow called Clutha.

From left: Chris Leggat, CEO; Fred Laing, chairman; Cara Laing, director of whisky; Danny MacLennan, director of finance

Cara Laing, director of whisky, commented: “Today marks a proud and historic landmark for Douglas Laing. For its first seven decades in the wonderful world of whisky, our family firm has been renowned amongst the finest independent bottlers, celebrated for our Remarkable Regional Malts and Exceptional Single Casks brands. 2019, our 71st year in business, is the year we take a monumental leap, adding ‘distillery’ to our credentials and beginning a new chapter in our journey. A distillery very much in its infancy, Strathearn affords us the opportunity to create an extraordinary brand home for our family business and a global single malt brand steeped in our family firm’s history, heritage and passion”. 

CEO Chris Leggat added: “Strathearn is a wonderful addition to our portfolio. The distillery’s handcrafted and premium approach to single malt Scotch whisky production is entirely aligned with our own values, with no attention to detail spared. The acquisition comes at a time when Douglas Laing & Co is truly thriving. We are particularly proud to report double digit growth for a fifth consecutive year, plus nine new recruits to our team and several new markets opened recently for our core brands. Douglas Laing’s Strathearn Distillery allows us opportunity to now invest further in our team, whilst becoming masters of our own destiny in terms of Scotch whisky distillation”.

Independent bottlers becoming distillers seems very much to be a thing with Hunter Laing (of the same Laing family as Douglas Laing) opening Ardnahoe Distillery earlier this year, and Brian and Jamie Morrison from Morrison & MacKay with Aberargie in 2017.