Speyburn was built in 1897, by Edward Broughton and his two cousins: Edward and John Hopkin. Broughton had previously owned Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. The Speyburn distillery was constructed for £17,000 and designed by the renowned Elgin-based distillery designer Charles Doig. Production began in December, though the build had yet to be completed - such was the owners’ intent to produce whisky to mark Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year. The windows and doors had yet to be fitted and a severe blizzard hit the distillery on New Year’s Eve. The employees had to work in heavy coats into the small hours of the morning to produce that one barrel of Speyburn 1897 Scotch whisky.
The decidedly compact whisky distillery sits in the gentle undulations of Moray, just to the north of Rothes. The Speyburn distillery is rather quaint with its pagoda roof and pretty stone buildings, indeed it is said to be Scotland’s most prolifically photographed. In 1916, Distillers Company Limited acquired Speyburn from John Hopkin and they subsequently closed the distillery for the Second World War and did not reopen it until 1947. During this period, two regiments from the Scottish Artillery used the distillery for accommodation.
In 1991, Speyburn distillery was acquired by Inver House and a decade later they in turn are bought out by Pacific Spirits. Pacific Spirits were latterly acquired by Thai Beverages Plc. The Speyburn distillery was the first to use the drum malting system, though they later abandoned it in 1968. The drum maltings have since been protected by Historic Scotland and as such they remain intact at the distillery.