The whisky distillery was closed as a precaution

The whisky distillery was closed as a precaution

An Edinburgh whisky distillery closed after an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the city has reopened.

The North British Distillery, which is part-owned by Diageo and The Edrington Group, went back into production on Monday (18 June), a company spokesperson told just-drinks late today (22 June). Production at the Wheatfield Road distillery was halted on 7 June as a precaution. Scotland's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said at the time that the company had failed to adequately control the risk of legionella in a cooling tower.

The improvement notice did not mean the distillery had been identified as the source of the disease, HSE said.

“We can confirm that we have started the distillery back up in a controlled manner,” a statement from North British said today. “This decision was taken in full consultation with the HSE.”

Earlier today, NHS Lothian confirmed the source of the exposure was "most likely to have been the cluster of cooling towers in Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh".

However, initial tests have been inconclusive and further analysis is ongoing.

The statement from North British said that the facility has fully complied with the HSE’s improvement notice.

“All of our cooling towers are continuously monitored and dosed and all three cooling towers are regularly cleaned,” it said.

Earlier this month, a second cooling tower on Wheatfield Road belonging to pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith was also issued with an improvement notice. 

Samples were taken from three other cooling towers on Wheatfield Road.

The total number of Legionnaires' cases in Edinburgh is 93, NHS Lothian said today. One man has died in the outbreak.

The North British grain distillery produces non-branded whisky used in blends including The Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker Black and Cutty Sark.

Diageo and The Edrington Group own a 50-50 share in the site.