New Islay Distillery (Ardnahoe)

New Islay Distillery (Ardnahoe)

£8m Ardnahoe will be first distillery on the island for more than a decade

News | 21 Oct 2016 | Issue 139 | By Rupert Wheeler

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Hunter Laing & Co has been given the green light from Argyll and Bute Council to build a new malt whisky distillery on Islay. The family-owned Glasgow whisky company led by Andrew and Scott Laing, along with their father, Stewart, expect to start work on Ardnahoe Distillery in November and the first drop to flow from their stills in early 2018.

Hunter Laing & Co, 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 Ardnahoe Distillery on a four acre piece of land at Ardnahoe, on the north east coast of Islay near Port Askaig. The land has been purchased from Islay Estates.

The distillery, which will focus on creating a single malt Islay whisky, will be the ninth on the island and the first to be built since Kilchoman was established in 2005.

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

Commenting on the new distillery, director Andrew Laing says, "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."

Director Scott Laing adds his thoughts: "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."

The building of the distillery will see 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.

Remarking on the distillery, Stewart Laing, managing director, says, "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."

Bushmills celebrates graduation of first cooper in 30 years

Bushmills Irish Whiskey marks a momentous occasion in the 400 years of whiskey making history in the area, as apprentice Chris Kane becomes the first person from the island of Ireland to graduate as a cooper in more than 30 years.

Chris, who hails from the village of Bushmills itself, is the fourth generation of his family to cooper casks at the Old Bushmills Distillery, totalling 140 years of family service. His great grandfather, Jimmy Kane, started coopering in 1935, followed by his grandfather, Johnny Kane, in 1951.

Chris himself began coopering at home with his father, Alastair, at the age of nine and today he and his father keep this tradition alive as they work side-by-side in the Old Bushmills Distillery Cooperage.

It takes five years to learn the highly skilled trade of coopering. Testament to his talent and determination, Chris took only four years to master the skills, using the same tools that his great grandfather wielded over 80 years ago.

Chris explains, "It might not be an obvious career choice but coopering has been a part of my life since I was a young guy. When the apprenticeship opportunity came up four years ago, I left what was probably deemed a good 'sensible' job to follow what has always been my real passion.

The wood, barrels, tools and craft, along with the opportunity to work with my dad each day, have given me the chance to contribute to the Bushmills Irish Whiskey story - it's a dream job!"

The Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar

Master of Malt has gone to whisky extremes to put together this truly astonishing creation from Drinks by the Dram - it's The Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar. The calendar features 24 different 3cl drams of rare, exciting whiskies from around the world, including single malts from long-closed distilleries, multi-award-winning expressions and a whisky worth up to £19,000 a bottle. Each calendar is contained in a beautiful bespoke wooden box. A treat for the eyes as well as the taste-buds and an eye watering price of £9,999.95.

Some of the featured whiskies included in this calendar include: Glenfarclas 60 Years Old, Ladyburn 40 Years Old 1974 (cask 74), Karuizawa 48 Years Old 1964 (cask 3603), Balvenie 46 Years Old 1968 (cask 7293) - The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter One, Yamazaki Age Unknown, Keizo Saji, The Last Drop 50 Years Old Double Matured, Port Ellen 25 Years Old 1979 - 5th Release (2005 Special Release), The John Walker, Port Askaig 45 Years Old, The Balvenie 40 Years Old, The Macallan M, Highland Park 40 Years Old, The Half-Century Blend, Pappy Van Winkle's 23 Years Old Family Reserve, Karuizawa 1984 Cask 4021 - Koi, The Glenrothes 1969 (cask 11485), The Dalmore Constellation 1981 - 30 Years Old, Tomatin 1971 44 Years Old. For further details visit

Volume of Scotch exports grow in first half of 2016

The first six months of 2016 were marked by improving Scotch whisky export performance, according to new analysis published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Despite continued economic and political volatility in some markets, Scotch whisky's global export volume grew by 3.1 per cent over the first half of the year, with the equivalent of 533 million 70cl bottles shipped overseas, up from 517m bottles in the first half of 2015. This was the first growth in volume since the first half of 2013.

Encouragingly, the global market for single malt Scotch whisky continued to grow, with export value increasing by 6 per cent to £431m and volume up 3 per cent to 49m bottles. Single malts now represent a quarter of total shipment value, with exports more than doubling in value over the last decade.

Bottled blended Scotch whisky continues to represent the lion's share of exports. While volumes increased by 1 per cent to 362m bottles, export value was down 4 per cent to £1.16bn, which may reflect the growth in single malts. On a market basis, there were promising signs in the industry's largest market by value, the United States. Exports increased by 9 per cent in value to £357m, with both single malts, up 22 per cent, and bottled blended Scotch whisky, up 6 per cent, enjoying growth.

The growth of exports to India also stood out, with value up 28 per cent to £43m. The SWA argued that the full potential of the Indian market would only be delivered through liberalisation of the exorbitant 150 per cent basic customs duty, urging the UK government to prioritise discussions with India as it develops its post-Brexit trade priorities.
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