Rosebank Distillery's history on its present site began in 1840 when James Rankine, a local wine merchant, acquired the maltings of the Camelon Distillery, which were on the opposite bank of the canal to the main distillery. Rankine expanded the distillery in 1845 before handing management onto his son R.W. Rankine. Rosebank became a sought-after whisky among blenders, who regarded it as 'top dressing'. The demand was so great that Rankine Jr. was able to charge blenders rent on barrel space while they waited for their order.
CONTRASTS AND JUXTAPOSITIONS
Success followed and, by the 20th Century, Rosebank was revered by whisky connoisseurs the world over as 'The King of the Lowlands'. There was a beautiful juxtaposition in one of the lightest, most floral Scotch whiskies ever made being distilled in Scotland's heavy industry Central Belt. This contrast was reflected in the unique production technique of marrying worm tub condensers and triple distillation. The resulting light/full contrast in flavour made it a category defining Lowland single malt Scotch whisky.
However, global whisky sales fell during the Nineties when the doors finally closed on Rosebank. Then owner UDV (now Diageo) mothballed the site in 1993 because of the cost of upgrading its effluent treatment plant, as well as problems over road access. The site was sold to British Waterways in 2002 and the original stills and mash tun were stolen during the Christmas and New Year holiday of 2008/09.
Then, in 2017, with the fabric of the building crumbling, Ian Macleod Distillers prevented Rosebank becoming a historical footnote when we acquired the derelict distillery site in 2017, breathing new life into the buildings and their surrounding community.
Our mission is to revive the distillery but our interest extends beyond its walls. The distillery was highly prized locally – along with the town’s old brewery it was once Falkirk’s beating heart, generating jobs for local residents who enjoyed the ubiquitous aroma of whisky distillation. We are really pleased to be able to regenerate in this way, bringing tourism and jobs back to the town, not to mention great whisky!