A ‘tipple’ of the hat to Royal Lochnagar

Deeside’s only distillery’s sales are “better than ever” despite an industry-wide drop in trade to foreign markets earlier this year.

Royal Lochnagar has long been a favourite tipple, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and with its association to Balmoral Castle it enjoys a status among the elite in single malts.

The first Lochnagar distillery was burnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1824 as were the replacement premises in 1841.

In 1845, John Begg built the “new” Lochnagar which was awarded its Royal Warrant in 1848 when Begg invited Prince Albert to visit the distillery from nearby Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s then recently-built residence.

Today, Royal Lochnagar is owned by Diageo PLC, and the distillery produces a relatively small amount of whisky, most of which is used in Johnnie Walker black and blue label.

A Diageo spokesman said: “Royal Lochnagar is one of 28 malt whisky distilleries owned by Diageo in Scotland and it is an important part of our Scotch whisky business, producing high quality spirit for the company’s world leading blended Scotch whiskies as well as for Royal Lochnagar Single Malt.

‘‘With the global growth of Diageo’s Scotch whisky brands, Royal Lochnagar along with all our distilleries is operating at full capacity to help meet that growth in demand.”

Royal Lochnagar is also home to one of Diageo PLC’s twelve visitor centres in Scotland.

Last year, almost 15,000 visitors explored the Deeside tourist hotspot which offers guided tours explaining the PRODUCTION process.

Diageo also use the regal distillery as a base for courses on Scotch whisky which attract a variety of people from around the world.

Banchory barmaid Sammy at The Stag hotel and restaurant said: “We sell a lot of Royal Lochnagar, especially at weekends.

‘‘It’s certainly still a favourite with locals.”