AN EAGERLY awaited new distillery opened its doors on the Isle of Islay today.
Ardnahoe Distillery was officially opened by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen in a ceremony which was attended by key members of the island’s community and whisky industry.
It is the first whisky production facility to open on the island since 2005 and was built with a £12 million investment from Scottish family-owned Hunter Laing & Company.
The family-owned distillery, situated on the island’s north east coast, will create up to 30 new jobs on the island across retail, dining, tours and event functions and expects to welcome 20,000 visitors each year.
Stewart Laing, Managing Director, 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.”
The new distillery combines state-of-the-art building design and technology with traditional distilling practices, while the site itself boasts views over the Sound of Islay and the Paps of Jura to the east and Mull and Colonsay to the north
The team of eight distillers have benefitted from the expertise of Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, and are producing a classic peated spirit for maturation in ex-American bourbon barrels and ex-Spanish sherry casks.
400 pre-order casks which were made available to private enthusiasts and collectors were all sold in record time.
In addition to whisky production, Ardnahoe also offers visitor experiences with tour facilities to accommodate visitors of all abilities which include stunning views throughout.
Andrew Laing, Export Director, commented: “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.”
Facilities also include warehousing, a large visitor centre comprising retail facilities, whisky bar and restaurant offering a broad range of locally-sourced, high quality merchandise.
Tours can be booked online at the Arndahoe Distillery website.