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Cameronbridge Distillery

Now representing one of the largest grain distilleries in Scotland, Cameronbridge was opened by John Haig in 1824 a quarter-mile (0.4 km) south of Windygates in Fife. It was the first to use the continuous still, invented by Robert Stein, and the first in Scotland to produce alcohol from grain, although malt whisky was also made here in the traditional way until the 1920s. The industrial-scale plant now occupies 30.3 ha (75 acres), processes 4000 tons of grain per week and produces 120 million litres of grain spirit annually, which is used in blended whisky, gin and vodka. Most of the grain used is locally-produced wheat.

Cameronbridge was one of six whisky companies which merged to form the Distillers Company Ltd in 1877. This was acquired by Guinness in 1986, becoming United Distillers & Vintners (UDV) Scotland. UDV was re-named in 2002, becoming Diageo Scotland, part of Diageo plc, the London-based food and drink multi-national, which has a turnover of 12 billion.

The distillery was upgraded in 1989-92, to produce neutral spirit was well as whisky for blending, and again in 2000 at a cost of 9 million. The process is now computer-controlled using some of the most advanced production technology. Remarkably, the new complex contains Gordon's gin stills that were transported from the former site of production in Essex, including Old Tom, which has been in continuous use since the reign of King George III. A bioenergy plant was built here in 2010 at a cost of 65 million. This uses spent grain and waste-water to make the site largely self sufficient in electricity. In addition, the distillery benefitted from a 45 million expansion in 2011 as Diageo have concentrated production on this site at the expense of plant closures elsewhere.

Brands produced at Cameronbridge include Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka, and Gordon's and Tanqueray gins, which are bottled at Leven. Neutral spirit is transported to Leven by tanker for the production of Pimms, Archers, Malibu and sloe gin.


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