Glenkinchie is, as its name suggests, in a Kinchie Burn valley near the village of Pencaitland in East Lothian. It is located approximately 15 miles from Edinburgh. The distillery is located on agricultural land. The name “Kinchie” is a corruption of “De Quincy”, the original owners of the land. Its origins date back to around 1825 when it was founded by brothers John and George Rate, although there are no direct records it seems likely that Glenkinchie is the previously registered Milton Distillery in the area. The brothers probably renamed it around 1837. In 1853, the Rate Brothers went bankrupt and the site was converted into a sawmill. In 1881, the factory was rebuilt and whiskey production restarted under Major James Gray. In 1969 the distillery stopped malting its own grain and the malting floors were turned into a malt whiskey museum. The Glenkinchie label was relatively little known until 1989, when United Distillers began marketing it under the Classic Malts brand.

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