THE Carsebridge Distillery was built in 1799, the year after John Francis Erskine, the Earl of Mar, leased land to John Bald along with 'other buildings, offices and machinery necessary for carrying on a distillery'.

The annual rent was set at 'seventeen bolls and one firlot of good, sufficient barley'.

The 10 acre site was ideally located for coal, and water from Gartmorn Dam.

John Bald with his nephew Col Bald Harvey of Tormaukin formed John Bald and Co. in 1813.

Following John's death in 1844, the distillery was run by his son Robert.

Two years later, Robert's brother John acquired the distillery. By this time demand for grain spirit for blending exceeded that of malt so in 1852 Carsebridge switched to grain and installed two Coffey stills.

Scotland had a glut of whisky for a time and many small distilleries failed. Consequently, John signed a trade agreement with the six largest lowland grain distillers and in 1877 was a founding member of Distillers Company Limited.

By 1888, production from the distillery was one of the highest in Scotland with annual output ranging from 1.4 to 1.7 million gallons of spirit.

The site had two huge granaries holding 3000 tons of grain, four kilns, mash house with seven mash tuns, 25 washbacks and two separate still houses.

Storage for the spirit was in four large vats with a total capacity of 23,000 gallons and there were 12 bonded warehouses on site. Around 150 men were employed in the business, 40 of whom were trained firefighters.

One downside to the distillery's location was the transportation of the spirit. Initially this was by horse and cart and limited to one ton. Later trucks took over transportation.

Fire broke out in 1902 ceasing production for nine months with the damage amounting to £40,000. After World War I, Carsebridge had a major refit which included new electrical installations, air compressors, a drying machine and refrigeration for yeast of which several hundred tons were being produced. Yeast production ceased in 1938.

In 1966, Carsebridge was transferred to Scottish Grain Distillers and at the time, was the largest distillery in the SGD. Another Coffey still was installed as well as a dark grains plant and a new cooperage.

However, in 1983, a downturn in the market closed the distillery. Its buildings were demolished in the 1990s. The cooperage remained until 2011 when owners Diageo moved operations to Cambus.

The former distillery manager's house remains and is Grade II listed.

Today the site is a business park.