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Kilchoman gains £22.5m investment

Islay whisky distillery Kilchoman has secured a £22.5 million (US$30.4m) funding package from Barclays to expand its site and grow the brand globally.

Kilchoman Distillery
Kilchoman Distillery is in the process of building a new warehouse at its site

Kilchoman will use the funds to ‘substantially’ increase production of its single malt and grow the brand globally.

The distiller aims to produce 40% more whisky within the next 12 months, and the owners have already started work on a new warehouse and hired extra staff. Kilchoman now has 40 employees.

The new investment will allow Kilchoman to store thousands more casks of whisky, which will be released to the public in several years’ time.

Islay Heads, general manager at Kilchoman Distillery, said: “Filling thousands of barrels of whisky and waiting several years for the spirit to mature is an expensive business.

“This substantial investment will allow us to invest back in the business, with construction of a new warehouse already underway and plans in the pipeline that should bring efficiencies and further expansion.”

The brand is available in 50 countries, with France, Germany, the US and China being its biggest markets. The funding will allow the distiller to increase its presence in these four countries.

Heads added: “There are exciting opportunities to grow our brand in countries like France and the US, and despite the unsettling economic conditions there remains a growing market for premium whisky brands.”

Kilchoman is Islay’s only farm distillery and is one of nine producers on the Scottish island. The company was founded in 2005 by Kathy and Anthony Wills, and is now supported by their three sons, George, James, and Peter.

The family business reported turnover of £7m (US$9.5m) in its last audited accounts to December 2020.

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