New whisky distillery opens on Islay

The first new distillery on Islay since 2005 has been officially opened.

Ardnahoe Distillery, on the island’s north-east coast, has been built with a £12 million investment from family firm Hunter Laing & Company.

It expects to welcome 20,000 visitors each year, with up to 30 people employed in retail, dining, tours and other events.

In keeping with Islay whisky style, Ardnahoe is producing a peated spirit for maturation in ex-American bourbon barrels and former Spanish sherry casks.

Ardnahoe Distillery
Ardnahoe Distillery

Managing director Stewart Laing said: “Since working as a teenager at Bruichladdich Distillery over 50 years ago, I have had a huge affinity with Islay and its malt whiskies.

“When we decided to build our own distillery, there was only one possible location.

“We have built a great team to manage the distillery and run the visitor centre and in a few years’ time we will be able to drink a great whisky in the classic Islay style, staying true to the island’s heritage with a heavily peated malt.”

Bosses said the distillery combines modern building design and technology with traditional distilling practices that include wooden washbacks and Scottish-made lamp glass stills.

A new year, and a new distillery is on the horizon…

— Ardnahoe Distillery (@ardnahoe) January 7, 2019

The distillery site has spectacular views of the Sound of Islay and the Paps of Jura, as well as Mull and Colonsay.

The distillery was officially opened at a ceremony on Friday attended by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, and members of the island community and the wider whisky industry.

Andrew Laing, export director, said: “We wanted the visitor experience to be at the heart of Ardnahoe.

“Our family business values and our distillery team, most of whom are islanders and steeped in the whisky industry, offer a warm Islay welcome to all who want to be part of the Ardnahoe journey.”