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The distillery started life as a brewery and the actual buildings were built in 1781. James Deuchar & Sons Ltd., a Newcastle upon Tyne based brewery (which would go on to form Scottish & Newcastle) owned the building during the 19th Century. The brewery was closed by Scottish & Newcastle before being quickly purchased in 1957 by Macnab Distilleries Ltd of which Joseph W. Hobbs, the proprietor of the Ben Nevis Distillery in Fort William, was a shareholder. The brewery was converted to a distillery and followed the Ben Nevis Distillery in producing both malt and grain whisky. The blended whisky brand Sandy Macnab, was created around this time.
Macnab Distilleries Ltd was purchased by Spanish whisky manufacturer Destilerías y Crianza del Whisky S.A. (popularly known as DYC) in 1973. They were in turn purchased by British drinks company Allied Distillers to form Allied Domecq, who were purchased by Pernod Ricard in 2005.
The distillery was closed during 1992 and the site earmarked for redevelopment. The distillery was finally demolished during 2004-2005 and the site has been turned into housing.
The Sandy Macnab brand name and the Macnab Distilleries Ltd company name are now owned by Pernod Ricard through their Chivas Regal subsidiary, following several takeovers.