Plans to resurrect the long lost Port Ellen distillery on Islay have been given the green light.
The pagoda-roofed kiln house will be restored and modern production buildings built after plans were approved by Argyll & Bute Council. The primary distillation regime will using two stills that exactly replicate the original Port Ellen copper pot stills. Alongside this will be a second, smaller pair of stills that will produce alternative spirit characters for experimentation.
Master distiller Georgie Crawford said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone in our journey to bring Port Ellen back into production. We are grateful to Argyll & Bute Council and to the local community who have engaged positively with us during the planning process. We are incredibly excited to begin the next phase of the project and to make our long-cherished dream of restoring Port Ellen distillery a reality.”
Port Ellen was owned by John Ramsay in its early years from 1825 when he made it one of the most innovative distilleries of the 19th century. It closed and most of it was demolished in the 1930s before being rebuilt in the 1960s. It closed again in 1983 and few of the original buildings remain. In October 2017, Diageo announced a £35 million investment programme to bring back Port Ellen on Islay and Brora distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983.
It will become Islay’s 10th working distillery alongside Ardbeg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.