The former Rosebank Distillery was originally constructed in 1817 and operated successfully until its closure in 1993, albeit Rosebank whisky can still be purchased to this day. The property was subsequently taken over by Scottish Canals which led to an initial phase of new development being undertaken including luxury apartments facing onto the Forth & Clyde canal. The remaining buildings complex, which is category B listed, has lain vacant whilst an appropriate high quality use is identified.
The founding date of Rosebank Distillery varies between sources, but it was most probably founded in 1817 by James Robertson.
Its history on the present site begins in 1840, when James Rankine acquired the maltings of the Camelon Distillery, which were on the opposite side of the canal to the main distillery.
The site was chosen on account of its inexhaustible water supply. Its proximity to a coal field reduced the expense of fuel and the canal provided an economic route for the shipment of goods in and out of the distillery.
It was initially expanded in 1845, but entirely rebuilt in 1864 by James Rankine's son, R.W Rankine, who proved a very successful distiller. By 1890 demand for whisky was so high that customers often received less whisky than they ordered. At its peak the Rosebank was distilling 123,000 gallons (319,000 litres).
In 1865 Rankine demolished the main buildings of the Camelon Distillery on the opposite side of the canal and replaced them with maltings. The two sets of buildings were connected with a bridge and covered 3 acres.
The business became a limited liability company in 1894, amalgamating to become Scottish Malt Distilleries (SMD) in 1914.
Rosebank was badly affected by the collapse of Pettison Brothers, a Leith based blending company in 1898. However, during WWII it was one of the few distilleries to remain in production.
In 1970 the maltings were demolished and the whole site has lain empty since 1993 when it was sold to Scottish Canals. The distillery remains a prominent landmark but its condition has deteriorated.
Rosebank Whisky is still a very popular whisky. It is a triple distilled single malt and considered as one of the best of the lowland malts. Bottles today sell for over £200.