Scotch blender and bottler Hunter Laing & Co has been given the go-ahead to build an £8 million malt whisky distillery on Islay – the island’s first new distillery in more than 10 years.
Hunter Laing & Co revealed its intention to move into distilling for the first time in January this year, but Argyll and Bute Council has now formally approved the planning application.
The Glasgow-based company – run by Andrew and Scott Laing, along with their father, Stewart – expects to commence work on building Ardnahoe distillery in November and start production in early 2018.
The distillery will be based at Ardnahoe on the north east coast of Islay, near Port Askaig, and will focus on single malt whisky production. Using water from the nearby Ardnahoe Loch, the site will produce around 200,000 litres of alcohol in its first year of operation.
“We are absolutely delighted that our plans for Ardnahoe have been approved,” said Andrew Laing. “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.”
Scott Laing added: “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.”
The area of land on which the distillery will be based was previously owned by Islay Estates, but deeds transferred to Hunter Laing once planning was approved.
The distillery will be built in two phases. The first will see the establishment of distilling operations, warehousing and a visitor centre comprising of a café, tasting room and shop. The second will see an expansion of distilling operations and further warehousing.