Wemyss Malts, the family’s bottling business, currently bottles other distilleries’ malts, with expressions such as The Peat Chimney, The Spice King and The Hive, and also makes the blended scotch Lord Elcho.
Part-funded by a £670,000 grant from the Scottish Government, the Kingsbarns Distillery will be built this year, with distillation starting in 2014 alongside the opening of the site’s visitor centre.
The Wemyss family plan to make a “delicate Lowland single malt scotch whisky, mainly matured in ex-bourbon barrels”.
The distillery capacity will be 150,000 litres (around 17,000 9-litre cases) some of which may be used for Wemyss Malts blended scotch bottlings. The family has not ruled out selling some of its output to other blended whisky companies.
Experiments with peated expressions may also come later, said the family.
William Wemyss said: “This rare opportunity to distil our own single malt whisky and develop a new scotch whisky brand to support our existing business as an independent bottler will secure the family interest in scotch for the next generation."
The site, approximately six miles from St Andrews, will be leased from Sir Peter Erskine of the Cambo Estate.
Wemyss said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government, Sir Peter Erskine and Kingsbarns Distillery founder, Doug Clement, to bring a new distillery and visitor centre to the East Fife area.”
According to Wemyss Malts the Wemyss family has a historical link with the site of the new Kingsbarns Distillery as the 7th Earl of Wemyss owned part of the Cambo Estate between 1759 and 1783.
The nearest distilleries to the Lowlands site are the Daftmill Distillery, which is still maturing its whisky, Tullibardine in Perthshire and Glenkinche in East Lothian.