Monday, October 9, 2017

Inbox Special Edition (October 9, 2017) - Brora & Port Ellen Distilleries Come Back To Life

It is not often that we produce an edition of Inbox outside of our regular weekly Friday slot, but sometimes news is announced that needs to be reported straight away. News that is so significant that it potentially changes the landscape of the whisky world. Today is one of those days as Diageo, Scotland's largest producer of whisky, have announced the re-opening of two of their most iconic closed distilleries - Brora and Port Ellen.

Brora, located in the village of the same name on the north east Highland coast, and Port Ellen, also located in the village of the same name but on the island of Islay, were both closed for production in 1983. Since then the malts from both distilleries have grown in distinction to become two of the most sought after and collectible Scotch single malts on the markets. This has been aided by strategic releases of bottlings, plus both featuring regularly in the Diageo Special Releases programme.

The old Brora distillery.

The Brora project will see part of the existing distillery buildings, which are located next to the Clynelish distillery, renovated and refurbished. The Port Ellen project will see a new distillery built on land between the current existing warehouses at Port Ellen and the Port Ellen Maltings. The old distillery buildings were demolished.

"Port Ellen and Brora are names which have a uniquely powerful resonance with whisky-lovers around the world. Only a very few people will ever be able to try the original single malts as they become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled that we will now be able to produce new expressions of these whiskies for new generations of people to enjoy."
Dr. Nick Morgan - Head of Whisky Outreach at Diageo.

Both will feature production facilities, along with cask filling and traditional warehousing on site. Each will also feature a 'brand home' visitor centre that will be a destination for whisky lovers and tourists. The aim is to replicate the methods of production as closely as possible to that produced at the original distilleries, both of which were in the medium peated style.

The old Port Ellen distillery.

The re-birth of Brora and Port Ellen will see a £35 million investment from Diageo and each distillery will be one of their smallest - the predicted annual production capacity of each will be just 800,000 litres. Most of the spirit produced will be allocated for future single malt release. Subject to planning permission and construction timings, it is hoped that both will be in production by 2020.

"This is good news for one Scotland’s most important industries, and some of our most remote communities. These ambitious new developments will create jobs, boost tourism and produce premium products to be exported around the world."
David Mundell - Secretary of State for Scotland.