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Laphroaig plans distillery expansion

Suntory Global Spirits has submitted a planning application to expand production at Islay distillery Laphroaig and improve its visitor experience.

Laphroaig Distillery
Laphroaig Distillery is planning to relocate its visitor centre

Suntory Global Spirits (formerly Beam Suntory) submitted the plans to Argyll & Bute Council to ‘future-proof’ its Laphroaig Distillery with an expansion of the site.

As part of the plans, Suntory will expand the stillhouse and increase the number of stills from seven to 11. It also proposes installing 12 new washbacks, a new mash house, and restoring the original ground floor maltings building, where the Laphroaig visitor centre is currently located.

Plans were shared with the local community at an information event held at the distillery in August last year.

Following community feedback, plans for a loop access road have been amended with a smaller turning circle proposed to lower the site’s vehicle footprint and improve access around the distillery. The size of the new stillhouse has also been reduced to complement the wider distillery site.

Due to the scale of the investment, the redevelopment will take place over a number of phases. Suntory confirmed that operations would continue as normal during the construction period.

Laphroaig Distillery attracts approximately 29,000 visitors every year.

In the future, Suntory proposes that the visitor centre is moved to a better-suited part of the site to improve the visitor experience. There is also the possibility of adding a celebratory space, where local businesses could provide services.

Craig Martin, general manager of manufacturing operations UK and Ireland, Suntory Global Spirits, said: “Laphroaig Distillery has not benefited from transformative investment for over 100 years, and we want to improve its attractiveness to visitors, whilst boosting its production capabilities and sustainability outputs.

“The significant level of investment proposed from Suntory Global Spirits will unlock the next chapter of Laphroaig’s legacy, and importantly, underlines our commitment to our long-standing presence on Islay and the island’s rich heritage.”

“We have proactively shared information about our proposals with the community and getting their feedback has been invaluable in shaping our final plans, which have now been submitted to Argyll & Bute Council.

“We are confident that the local authority will share our vision to future-proof a historic site within the Islay community.”

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