The North Port distillery was founded in 1820 by the Townhead Distillery Company - a consortium including the brothers Guthrie: Alexander, David and John. The distillery was named Townhead until 1823 when it became the Brechin distillery. The town of Brechin, in which the distillery lies, was at one time surrounded by walls. The whisky distillery was near the Northern gate and was hence named North Port in 1839. The North Port distillery closed a century later and remained shut until 1948. During this time, the Polish army used the buildings for accommodation.
The 1980s were a trying time for the Scotch whisky industry; it was after the Second World War, and the subsequent abolition of rationing, that popularity for the dark spirit soared. The distilleries and producers were keen to meet demands and before too long the market became saturated. It was in 1983 that a host of distilleries gave up their proverbial ghost and the North Port distillery was among their number. The distillery had just two stills and shared its water source, Loch Lee, with the townsfolk.
Distillers Company Limited acquired North Port in 1922 and subsequently transferred it to Scottish Malt Distillers. It latterly became part of Diageo. Since the buildings were demolished, the site has played host to a shopping centre. Official releases are rare and there have been but a handful of independent bottlings.