The plant was originally a flax mill. It is situated near Montrose, on the East Coast of Scotland. When the distillery was founded, it was called Highland Esk. The distillery changed its name several times before closing definitively in 1985. The successive names of the distillery are: North Esk (1899), Montrose distillery (1938), Hillside distillery (1964) and finally Glenesk in 1980, a few years before closing. Round the time of World War II, the distillery has been altered to produce grain whisky, but in the early 1960's, it became a malt distillery again. In 1968, the owners of the distillery started malting in malting drums. Nowadays Glenesk is renowned as an important malting plant. The distilling licence was cancelled in 1992. Glenesk whisky is an important part of the 'VAT69' blend.