Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

The Springside Distillery

Campbeltown, Scotland

Springside Distillery was a very modest operation consisting of “a scattered lot of buildings placed around a small yard”, if we may believe famous whisky chronicler Alfred Barnard. From the backside of the obviously more known Springbank Distillery you walk up Glebe Street to see something of these buildings left. Campbeltown was at one time the Victiorian Whisky Capital of the World, and Springside was just one of these cogs in the machine. With an annual output of 30.000 gallons (comparable with today’s Wolfburn) it actually managed to survive the many hardships that befell Campbeltown. Only to go bust in 1926 anyway. 

What remains of Springside is partly absorbed by Springbank actually, and last January we were offered a glimpse in the old backlot. Between tastings Sales & Marketing Executive Andrew Wallace (picture right) took us for a stroll up this Glebe Street. He opened a huge gate to an old abandoned yard – looked that way for sure, and then let us in what turned out to be a warehouse. Divided over two floors indeed there were casks quietly maturing, some for a good many years. There were also new additions, like casks that were labelled Dalrymple (apparently this is Ailsa Bay produce).

It was really remarkable to walk around not only the casks but also inside this old building. The grasp of time on the floors and walls was undeniable, mostly visible in the shape of fungus have free reign. We did not breathe in too deeply and kept the visit short, but seeing this “Warehouse number 1”, as it is today called, was a delight. It also invoked conversation about the surge in new distilleries being planned in Campbeltown in the next few years. As many as three are announced, namely Dál Riata, Witchburn and Machrihanish, and Springbank itself might have a surprise up their sleeve as well. The future looks promising!