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Islay distillery gets go ahead from council

Hunter Laing and Co. has been given permission from Argyll and Bute council to construct an £8m pound distillery, with work expected to begin in November.

Hunter Laing and Co. was established in May 2013 and distributes whisky to 65 markets around the world. The planning application was submitted earlier in the year and will now proceed with plans to build Ardnahoe distillery on a four-acre piece of land at Ardnahoe, on the north east coast of Islay near Port Askaig. The land has been purchased from Islay Estates.

The distillery will focus on creating a single malt Islay whisky and will be the ninth on the island, but the first to be built since Kilchoman was established in 2005. The distillery will draw water from the nearby Ardnahoe Loch and production of around 200,000 litres of alcohol is planned for the first year. 

Commenting on the new distillery, Andrew Laing, director, says: “We are absolutely delighted that our plans for Ardnahoe have been approved. 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, director, 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 building of the distillery will see a visitor centre comprising of a café, tasting room and shop. The distillery will create many full-time positions on the island, as well as a number of seasonal roles.  

Stewart Laing, managing director, says: “This is the natural next step in the journey of Hunter Laing & Co. To be able to work with my sons on the new distillery is a real joy, as is the opportunity to be part of the incredible tradition of whisky-making on Islay, the whole experience is a dream come true.”

28 September 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant