The Borders Distillery opened in 2018 – founded by John Fordyce, Tim Carton, Tony Roberts, and George Tait, all veterans of the Scotch Whisky industry. They had a vision of bringing distilling back to the Borders by building the first whisky distillery in the region since 1837.
Our ambition is to run the Most-Qualified distillery in Scotland – a place where “everyone can do everything”. Our talented team of distillers can turn their hands to every aspect of running the distilling operation – from milling and mashing, through fermentation and distillation, and on to filling casks and racking them in our warehouses. And on top of all that, we don’t have any tour guides here at The Borders Distillery – instead it’s the distillers themselves who show our visitors around.
Making Scotch Whisky is a long and painstaking process – a wonderful combination of nature, art, and science. Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced from only 3 natural ingredients: Malted Barley, water, and yeast. These ingredients produce New Make Spirit, which is then transferred into casks where it will mellow over time and take on new nuances of flavour. To be legally identified as Single Malt Scotch Whisky, these casks must be matured in Scotland, in oak barrels, for a minimum of 3 years and 1 day.
Here at the Borders Distillery we use locally-grown barley, all harvested from 11 farms lying within 30 miles of the distillery. We’re proud to be a zero waste distillery with all the organic by-product from distillation going to two local farms where it is used to grow plants (including some delicious tomatoes!). The organic by-product from those two farms goes back in turn to the barley fields – making for a circular economy within Borders farming with the distillery at its centre.
Today’s rain is tomorrows whisky, and making whisky involves using a lot of water. Having sustainable supplies of water as both an ingredient and for production were key considerations in choosing a location for the distillery. For the water which goes into the spirit, we draw from an underground lake deep beneath the site. And right outside our front door, the River Teviot offers a sustainable source of fast-flowing water - perfect for cooling the spirit as it comes from the stills.