Hunter Laing & Co. has been given the green light from Argyll and Bute Council to build the first new malt whisky distillery on Islay in over a decade.

Brothers Andrew and Scott Laing, along with their father, Stewart, expect to start construction work on the new Ardnahoe distillery in November with the first drop to flow from their stills in early 2018.

The Glasgow based whisky company, which was established in May 2013 and distributes whisky to 65 markets around the world, submitted its planning application earlier in the year and will now proceed with plans to build their new distillery on a four-acre piece of land – purchased from Islay Estates –  at Ardnahoe, on the north east coast of Islay near Port Askaig.

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(L-R) Andrew, Scott and Stewart Laing are looking forward to beginning work on the ninth distillery on Islay. Picture: Hunter Laing

The distillery, which will focus on creating a single malt Islay whisky, will be the ninth on the island, after the recent  proposals for Gartbreck Distillery stalled at the planning stage, and the first to be built since Kilchoman was established in 2005.

The company say the new distillery will draw water from the nearby Ardnahoe Loch and production of around 200,000 litres of alcohol is planned for the first year.

Plans for the site also include 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.

Commenting on the new distillery, Andrew Laing, Director, said: “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.”

Stewart Laing, Managing Director, who is looking forward to returning to produce more whisky on the island, said: “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.”

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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