Wash back a dram at Springbank Distillery’s new bar

The Washback Bar is housed inside the distillery's former bottling hall.
The Washback Bar is housed inside the distillery's former bottling hall.

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Springbank Distillery tourists who aren’t quite ready to end their visit can now enjoy a dram in the distillery’s very own whisky bar.

Members of Springbank Society, Cadenhead’s Club and distillery staff joined community representatives and local business owners to toast the launch of The Washback Bar, the distillery’s latest attraction, at a preview night last Friday.

The bar, which officially opened on Monday, September 20, is aimed specifically at fans of the water of life as the only alcoholic beverage on offer is whisky.

As well as a range of Springbank, Longrow, Hazelburn and Kilkerran malts, there is a choice of six carefully selected tasting flights which feature new and limited releases, rare archive bottlings and cask samples from the nearby warehouses.

Coffee and soft drinks are available for non-whisky drinkers and designated drivers.

A selection of light bites, including soup, sandwiches, fresh homemade pastries and sweet treats, is also available.

‘We wanted to build upon our already popular and successful distillery tours and whisky tastings to provide an even better experience for the thousands of people who make the journey to Campbeltown to visit us every year,’ said a distillery spokesperson.

‘It provides an opportunity to open all the different and unique bottles we have and let people taste them rather than have them sitting unopened.

‘The idea was born with distillery visitors in mind but anyone that is interested in tasting and learning more about our huge range of whiskies will be sure to find something of interest.’

Located in the building which was originally the distillery’s bottling hall and latterly a joiners workshop, The Washback Bar is situated directly across from the distillery shop.

The actual bar is built from one of Springbank’s former washbacks, large containers used during the fermentation stage of the whisky-making process, which is how the bar got its name.

The idea was first discussed in 2019 and the intention was to have the bar up and running in time for Easter 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns and restrictions delayed proceedings.

The majority of work was completed by Springbank’s clerk of works Stephen Kelly and his team, with various local firms brought in to complete other jobs during the process.

Ranald Watson, group director of sales and marketing, described the bar’s opening as ‘a long time coming’.

‘It was great to see The Washback Bar finally opening and to see how much the guests appeared to appreciate and enjoy it,’ he said.

‘The bar has already been busy despite only officially opening on Monday this week and it makes what was already an interesting distillery tour an even better experience for our visitors.’

The bar’s current opening hours are Monday to Friday, 11am to 6pm.

It is hoped it will be a key part of expanding Springbank’s visitor experiences post pandemic which will also include its own accommodation – The Still House Bed and Breakfast.