How Whisky Is Made

In Whisky by Whisky MonsterLeave a Comment

It is really not easy to tell the production phases of a spirit which has been ruling the world for hundreds of years. However I will try to give you a summary of whisky production.

Whisky Process

To explain whisky production we firstly need 3 main ingredients, namely water, grain and yeast. As grain Scotch whiskies often use barley but in the States corn and rye are widely used as you can remember from y Whisky Or Whiskey? post. Of course there are other materials which are used in the production phase like peat. Below you can find step by step production phase based on Scotch single malt whisky.


Whisky production is operated at where we call distilleries. These distilleries are generally located near pure water sources. The reason is to add water into process without playing with it too much. Just a little research will show you that most of the distilleries claim to have the purest water in the industry. Moreover distilleries like The Glenlivet and Bowmore released their bottled water.

In traditional manufacture, barley is harvested from nearby farms. Though today, the uprising demand resulted in mass purchase of barley. Finally yeast is of big importance when it comes to alcohol extraction. Like in Belgian breweries, most of the distilleries store and improve their yeast structure in years.

Production Phases

Malting is the first step of whisky production. Harvested barley is fed by water in a big concrete tank for around three days to attain a humidity of 45%. Wet and fat grain is layed on the ground to start germination. This traditional process is called Floor Malting. Some distilleries such as The Balvenie is still using this method for some part of its phase. Laid barley starts to germinate in time. Floor Malting

The arms of germinated barley should not tangle with each other. Therefore during germination barley is aired by big showels or ladles 3-4 times a day for 6-7 days. A physical disease on workers’ dislocated shoulders which happened during this operation is called Monkey Shoulder, which is a popular blended malt whisky nowadays. Next step happens at kiln which is composed of two stories. Second story has a big steel ground with tiny holes. At the first floor a fire is made by anthracite coal and peat. The more the peat is used, the more smoky your whisky gets.


Aside from the stages I stated, processes like caramel colouring, filtration may be applied. Moreover, micro climate of whisky region, climatic characteristics saturated in peat that is used, water characteristics can differ the taste and joy we get from whisky.

Some of the visuals I used in this post is taken from The Whiskey WashYou can view the whole visual from here.

How Whısky Is Made