Closed & demolished
Not generally accessible
Confusingly, there have been two distilleries named Dumbarton, a small lowland single malt distillery founded in 1817 and the large grain distillery detailed here.
Built in the 1938 at the confluence of the Clyde and Leven rivers on the site of the former McMillan Shipyard, at its height of production Dumbarton was the largest grain distillery in Europe. It was built by Hiram Walker two years after they had acquired George Ballantine & Co. of Dumbarton in 1936.
Unfortunately the distillery proved impractical to upgrade because the tall column stills rose up through its concrete floors so preventing the installation of larger modern stills. Hence Dumbarton remained virtually unchanged from the 1930s until it closed in 2002 with production moved to the nearby Strathclyde Distillery in the Gorbals of Glasgow. The Dumbarton distillery has since been demolished to make way for a housing estate but a large bonded warehouse complex still operates in Dumbarton East, as does the large bottling plant to the North of the town.
Prior to its closure it Dumbarton had an annual capacity of 25 million gallons and the Lowland grain whisky it produced was mainly used in the Ballantine’s blends. Sadly an official distillery bottling was never released but some independent bottlings are available.
Between 1938-1991 the Inverleven single malt whisky distillery was located in a utilitarian red brick building within the Dumbarton grain distillery complex.