Glenfiddich Distillery

Visitor numbers to Scotch Whisky visitor centres throughout Scotland topped 2 million back in 2022, which was the last set of data released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

SWA scotch whisky visitor centre numbers

Visitors at Laphroaig Distillery

The first time the Scotch whisky distillery visitor centre numbers broke the 2 million mark was back in 2018, when they were collectively in 3rd place as one of the top visitor attractions in Scotland. Recent figures from 2022 show that Scotch Whisky visitor centres collectively have risen to become the top visitor attraction in Scotland.

SWA scotch whisky visitor centre numbers

Glenfiddich Distillery visitor centre opening in 1969 – the 1st Whisky Distillery visitor centre to open its doors

The List of the Most Popular Whisky Distilleries in Scotland from number 1 to 35 can be found below (using data sources available on the public domain). It totals 1,515,262 visitors which is equal to 76% of the 2022 visitor figures released by the SWA.

Lochranza Distillery Isle of Arran scotch whisky
Lochranza Distillery – Isle of Arran

The number 1 most popular whisky distillery in Scotland is Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye with 184,000 visitors in 2023, followed by Oban Distillery with almost 160,000 visitors at number 2 and Lochranza Distillery in the Isle of Arran, with over 100,000 visitors reported, at number 3.

most popular whisky distilleries

The recent figures published by Diageo have shown a significant increase in visitors in 2023 for Blair Athol, Glen Ord and Lagavulin distilleries, whilst Dalwhinnie has remained relatively flat. Changes to the visitor numbers can be a choice made the distillery, such as Edradour at number 13 which is temporarily closed to visitors in 2024.

Glenfiddich Distillery, as the first distillery to open a visitor centre back in 1969, was probably the most popular whisky distillery in Scotland for quite a while, with figures higher than 80,000 visitors in the recent past (2013).  However, the introduction of fees to visitors taking tours lowered their base numbers, as expected, and the distillery sits at number 8 with 57,000 visitors. Coincidentally, this is also the first Whisky Distillery I ever visited in Scotland all the way back in 1993.

Glenfiddich Distillery Andre de Almeida
My first ever Whisky Distillery visit at Glenfiddich (1993)

Perhaps not surprisingly given its investment and prime location, the top whisky attraction in Scotland was the Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh, with a reported 359,000 visitors in 2023.

Johnnie Walker Experience Princes Street Edinburgh
The ‘Journey of Flavour’ at Johnnie Walker Princes Street

For context, the top 5 most popular whisky distilleries in the Louisville-area in the USA, equate to 1,262,434 visitors in 2022 – more than the top 35 distilleries in Scotland combined.

Louisville-area Bourbon/Distillery Attractions
Louisville-area Bourbon/Distillery Attractions source: Louisville Business First

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