Work on Isle of Arran distillery beginsBy Annie Hayes
Independent Scotch producer Isle of Arran Distillers has started work on its second distillery, beginning with the construction of three warehouses.
A ground-breaking ceremony at the site – which looks over the cliffs at Lagg on the south coast of the island – signalled the start of the works, which will enable annual production to increase to 1.2 million litres.
Following the popularity of the Arran Machrie Moor peated malt whisky crafted at its Lochranza distillery, Isle of Arran plans to dedicate production at the new site to heavily peated single malts.
Master distiller James MacTaggart said: “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.”
Four new stills have been installed at the original site, with a new spirit safe that can support 700,000 litres per year – equivalent to 140 casks a week.
Its distillery centre, meanwhile, welcomed “record” numbers of visitors in 2016 of more than 104,000 people. This number is expected to rise to 166,900 by 2018, once the Lagg site has opened.
Managing director, Euan Mitchell, said: “The past 21 years have seen the ‘Arran Waters’ flow around the world.
“We are relatively young compared to some other Scotch whisky distilleries and have a fresh, dynamic approach coupled with big ambitions to introduce more people to top quality malt whisky.
“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 construction work follows the release of Isle of Arran’s 2015 full-year results – which showed a 16% increase in brand sales, consolidating six years of profit gains, up 130% since 2010.