A new distillery opening in Scotland is a bit like a new restaurant opening in New York City: of course there is. But to find a new distillery-slash-brewery inside a national park? That’s a rarer treat, and having it set within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park—one of the loveliest and most accessible parks from big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow—is even better still.
Glen Luss Distillery has been getting buzz lately for its promise of a micro-distillery serving—deep breath—single malt Scotch whisky, locally sourced botanical gin, aged and new-make rums, small-batch vodka, and craft beer in the loch-side village of Luss when it opens . . . in May 2021.
Yes, it’s still a year out, but Glen Luss has a crowdfunding “founders club” campaign running for a few more days for those interested in pledging. (Commitments run from “Clansman/Clanswoman” at £500 to “Clan Chief” at £5,000, with various bottles, merch, and parties included.) The work-in-progress project has the makings of a high-touch interactive experience, akin to what big distilleries like Glenfiddich and Macallan offer, with a guided tour of the facilities (the “making and tasting” experience), along with an interactive discovery center with a cinema, virtual reality experience, and history and heritage walkthrough.
The region surrounding Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has a wealth of distilleries already, though the “region” could constitute an hours-long drive west to Oban or east to Perth. And look, I’d recommend both ends of that whisky road trip, but there’s something great about the promise of a destination distillery just a 40-minute drive from Glasgow, in a village of only 150 people, on the shores of one of the largest lakes in the United Kingdom.
Given the potential for Glen Luss to attract some of the four-million-plus tourists who visit the park annually once coronavirus isn’t a thing (please, let that be soon), the distillery is making a commitment to sustainability.
“Energy efficiency, recycling, reducing waste, promoting area biodiversity, using electric vehicles, and preserving wildlife habitats in the area are all measures the distillery team plans to undertake in the effort to be environmentally conscious,” reports Whisky Advocate. Glen Luss also plans to hire locally and build a 240-car lot south of the village itself. Hopefully these best-laid plans help preserve the beauty and character of the area, while also giving us a new spirit-lover’s trip to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.
Looking for another distillery-in-a-national-park experience? Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands is the setting for Cairngorm Brewery and six distilleries: Dalwhinnie, Glenlivet, Tomintoul, Royal Lochnagar, Balmenach, and Speyside.
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