Plans submitted to council

Port Ellen distillery to be revived with a modern flavour

Port Ellen distillery plans

Distillery plan involves a mix of old and new


Innovative plans to revive the moribund Port Ellen Distillery on Islay will see the crumbling facilities turned into a new centre of traditional and modern methods of whisky production.

Argyll & Bute council is due to consider an application to reopen the distillery more than 35 years after it was closed.

The new plant will aim to recreate the original spirit character of the distillery that made its single malt Scotch Whisky amongst the most sought-after in the world.

Experimental stills pay homage to John Ramsay, who owned Port Ellen in its formative years and who made it one of the most innovative distilleries of the 19th century, pioneering many of the techniques and equipment that would become mainstays of the Scotch whisky industry.

The buildings at the Port Ellen distillery have gone through many changes since it opened in 1824, with the distillery closing and largely being demolished in the 1930s, before being rebuilt in the 1960s.

Following its most recent closure in 1983 very few of the original buildings remain. The original kiln building with its classic pagoda roofs and the traditional sea-front warehouses will be restored as integral parts of the revived distillery, with a new still house created to house distillation. 

Georgie Crawford, the master distiller leading the Port Ellen project, said: “This is another hugely significant milestone on our journey to bring Port Ellen Distillery back to life. This is no ordinary distillery project, we are bringing a true whisky legend back to life and we believe our plans do justice to the iconic status of Port Ellen and will capture the imagination of whisky fans from all over the world.”

In October 2017 Diageo announced a £35 million investment programme to revive Port Ellen and Brora distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983. 

The company is also investing £150 million in Scotch whisky tourism – the biggest ever seen in the sector – which will create a flagship visitor experience for Johnnie Walker in Edinburgh and boost the existing 12 distillery visitor centres, including Caol Ila on Islay.


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