Coleburn was founded in 1896, by blenders John Robertson & Son Ltd and located just four miles to the south of Elgin. The distillery was sited at this location for the pure waters of the Glen Burn and for its proximity to the Great Northern Railway. Designed by the renowned distillery architect Charles Doig the distillery's construction was not completed until 1899, due in part to difficulties in building a house for the excise officer and, curiously, an unspecified eighteen month delay in building his lavatory.
Coleburn was bought by the Clynelish Distillery Company in 1916 and in 1925 both the Coleburn and Clynelish distilleries were purchased by Distillers Company Limited. Shortly after, Coleburn was licensed to Edinburgh-based J & G Stewart who used the whisky in their blends. During the 1950s and ‘60s, Coleburn underwent some renovation, which included the rebuilding of the mash house and the conversion from coal to steam to heat the stills.
During the slump of the early 1980s, owing to a saturated market, many distilleries closed; the first wave was in 1983 and included the likes of Port Ellen; Glen Mhor; Banff and Brora. Coleburn breathed its last in 1985 and in 1992 the licence was cancelled. Today the distillery is owned by United Distillers and the buildings are currently used as a venue for live music.