Distillery approved

Islay distillery given council backing

Artist's impression of the new distillery
Artist’s impression of the new distillery

Independent bottler and blender Hunter Laing & Co has been given the green light from Argyll and Bute Council to build a malt whisky distillery on Islay.

The family-owned Glasgow whisky company led by Andrew and Scott Laing, along with their father, Stewart, expects work to begin on Ardnahoe distillery and visitor centre in November and the first drop to flow from the stills in early 2018.

Hunter Laing & Co, which was established in May 2013 and distributes whisky to 65 markets around the world, submitted plan this year and will now begin building on a four-acre piece of land on the north east coast of the island near Port Askaig. The land has been purchased from Islay Estates.

The distillery, which will focus on creating a single malt Islay whisky, will be the ninth on the island and the first to be built since Kilchoman was established in 2005. The distillery will draw water from the nearby Ardnahoe Loch and production of around 200,000 litres of alcohol is planned for the first year.   

Andrew, Scott and Stewart Laing
Andrew, Scott and Stewart Laing

Andrew Laing, Director, said: “Since starting our company, we’ve seen a huge demand for Islay whisky around the world and now is the perfect time to make the progression from blenders and bottlers to distillers and secure our own supply of Islay single malt.”

Brother Scott said: “Our father spent time on Islay early in his career while working for a brief spell at Bruichladdich. He has always had a natural affinity with the island and we’re all fans of the peaty style of whisky it is renowned for so it’s wonderful to be able to build a distillery on the island.”

Stewart Laing, who is managing director, said: “This is the natural next step in the journey of Hunter Laing & Co. To be able to work with my sons on the new distillery is a real joy, as is the opportunity to be part of the incredible tradition of whisky-making on Islay, the whole experience is a dream come true.”

Hunter Laing & Co owns a portfolio of brands including Old Malt Cask, Old & Rare, Hepburn’s Choice and Sovereign.

Irt  reported pre-tax profits of £1.4 million on a turnover of £6.4m for the year to the end of April 2015.

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