Islay distillery announces investment plans as part of sustainable vision

An island whisky distillery has announced plans to install its own on-site malting operation as part of multimillion-pound infrastructure investment.

Bosses at Bruichladdich distillery on Islay hope to have the new maltings installed on distillery grounds by 2023, subject to planning permission.

The distillery currently grows 42% of its barley locally, and has committed to distilling, maturing and bottling its single malts only on Islay. Currently, its Islay-grown barley travels to Inverness for the process.

The distillery said its future plans would reduce its carbon footprint, but, with implications for a higher on-site energy consumption, it is exploring renewable energy technology, such as from tidal, water and biomass sources.

Bruichladdich CEO Douglas Taylor
CEO Douglas Taylor (Bruichladdich/PA)

Bruichladdich, which currently employs 80 people on Islay, said it has also acquired 30 acres of land next to the distillery, where it hopes to run barley trials and test sustainable farming practices.

A spokesman predicted the firm’s commitment to new warehouses, new maltings and keeping bottling on the island, will increase employment locally.

Chief executive Douglas Taylor said: “Running a business from an island makes us distinctly aware that our social, economic and environmental impact must be a positive one. We feel strongly about our responsibility to the island and the people of Islay.

“In recent years, we have endeavoured to be more sustainable in our operations and more environmental in our actions. Some have been straightforward, like stopping using bottled water and introducing the use of electric vehicles, or more complicated, like habitat protection, wildlife corridor agreements with landowners for barley growing or engineering a solution that re-uses the hot waste-water from distillation.

“These actions are just the beginning of a long-term vision; to be more sustainable in all we do, and to leave behind a bright future for generations to come.”

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