1780 - 1840s

Built by James Haig

One of the Great Middle Class Distilleries

Run by James Haig until 1788 when it went into sequestration along with all the other distilleries owned by the Haigs / Steins. This was due to the collapse of their English distributor because of the new Lowlands License Act which prohibited export to England for 12 months.

Canonmills was bought by John Stein in 1790 and was then returned to the Haigs in 1825.

In 1779 the Excise Board reported the distillery had three stills of 253 gallon capacity which were worked off at the incredible rate of 47 charges / discharges in 12 hours. The level of duty was based upon a still being discharged at only once or twice a day giving the distiller considerable savings.

Following the changes in the regulations at the beginning of the 18th century, only John Stein with his Canonmill works - the largest distillery in Scotland - had sufficient financial muscle to continue exporting to England.

The Haigs operated Canonmills up until the 1840s when it was later used as a brewery maltings and was finally demolished in the 1970s.


See 1782 - 1784 The Great Dearth

See Historical Press Snippet relating to the Steam Engine at Canonmills Distillery

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Experts Comments

"It is difficult to over-estimate the importance of Kennetpans Distillery, founded in the 1720s byJohn Stein  - 'the Father of Commercial Whisky Distilling'. The site is of great importance to the industrial archeological heritage of Scotland. It would be nothing short of a tragedy if the site was left to vanish.”

Charles MacLean, W.S., M.A., LL.B., F.S.A.(Scot)
Master of the Quaich
Whisky Writer