The new Isle of Arran Distillery, on the south island of at Lagg, has seen construction begin, celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony.
Situated overlooking the cliffs at Lagg, on the south coast of the island, the new site sits alongside fields of barley that are currently used in distillation at Lochranza. The building will include a visitor centre and pot stills for distillation as well as the warehousing, which will allow enough capacity to increase production to 1.2 million litres.
In response to the popularity of Machrie Moor, the peated Arran Malt, master distiller of the Isle of Arran Distillery, James MacTaggart, plans to dedicate production at Lagg to more heavily peated single malts.
MacTaggart says: “Having been at capacity at Lochranza for some time, the prospect of starting production at Lagg is extremely exciting. The Arran Malt continues to grow in popularity – the extra storage alone will enable us to lay down more of the award-winning Arran spirit.
“I’m also very much looking forward to expanding our peated range. By moving production of Machrie Moor and concentrating the distillation of peated malts on the south of the island, I’ll also be freed up to create more of our extremely popular limited editions at Lochranza.”
Euan Mitchell, managing director at the Isle of Arran Distillery, adds: “The past 21 years has seen the ‘Arran Waters’ flow around the world. We are relatively young compared to some other Scotch whisky distilleries and we have a fresh, dynamic approach coupled with big ambitions to introduce more people to top quality malt whisky.”
The distillery site at Lochranza welcomed record numbers of visitors in 2016 with over 104,000 people making the trip to the distillery. This number is expected to rise to a combined 166,900 by 2018 once the new visitor centre in Lagg has been opened.
Mitchell continues: “Visitors to Lochranza have been growing year-on-year making the Lagg site of even greater importance. By 2018, we hope to be extending the same warm welcome welcome on the south of the island that visitors enjoy at Lochranza.”
The visitor centre at Lochranza will soon re-open after the completion of extensive renovations including a complete re-design of the reception area and a tasting bar to help accommodate larger groups of visitors. In the distillery itself, four brand new stills have been installed with a new spirit safe will support the production of 700,000 litres per annum, or 140 casks a week.
4 March 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor