Whisky Advocate

Islay to get ninth distillery

September 14th, 2013

Dominic RoskrowExclusive by Dominic Roskrow

Islay is to get a brand new distillery, the ninth for the island.

Plans have been drawn up and work will begin soon on the new distillery site, which is on the shores of Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore and across the water from Bruichladdich. It is set to open in the spring of 2015.


Not the view from the distillery, but not far away.

The distillery will be called Gartbreck and will be Islay’s smallest. It is presumed that it is named after Gartbreck Farm, which lies on the road from Bowmore to the airport and is within sight of the Bowmore distillery. Its lands stretch down to the sea loch.

No official announcement will be made for some weeks—probably towards the end of the year—but the independent initiator of the project, who will also be its future manager, says that work on the new distillery will definitely go ahead. The source of this story has considerable distilling experience.

“I am providing this information very much unofficially, but it is 100 percent correct,” he said. “The project has now reached the stage where it will inevitably start to leak, so I would prefer to allow some limited and controlled leaks to make sure that the information is not distorted.”

To prove the substance of the story, the source outlined in confidence further details of the new distillery, including output, water source and style of the buildings, and he sent through pictures of the site.

The new distillery is further evidence (were it needed) of the continuing boom for whisky, and for Scotch whisky in particular. Islay went 125 years without getting a new distillery. Now it is set to have two in a decade, following Kilchoman’s opening in 2005.

26 Responses to “Islay to get ninth distillery”

  1. Andrew Dally says:

    Apparently the guy from breton whisky / celtic whisky in france according to someone on twitter. Are they correct?

  2. Finally – “New Skin for an old Ceremony”! Certainly worth a visit in 2015. I am looking forward.

  3. portwood says:

    hummm I wonder if this is the final sign that the whisk(e)y bubble is about to burst?

  4. portwood says:

    2018-19 is a long time to wait to sell your first bottle of whisky. It could be very costly to be the last to arrive at the party – feasting on scraps isn’t very profitable.

  5. Mark C says:

    Great news! I assume the majority of the spirit will be peated to keep up with the current fashion…

  6. Mr_Claw says:

    “…Islay went 125 years without getting a new distillery. Now it is set to have two in a decade, following Kilchoman’s opening in 2005.”

    Shouldn’t that be “three in a decade”? Isn’t Bruichladdich currently building a new distillery at Port Charlotte on the site of the old Lochindaal distillery?

  7. Chap says:

    Both Kilchoman and Chichibu sold casks for early cash, and say now they wish they didn’t; Kilchoman bought back a few. I don’t know if Wolfburn did. I can see the appeal of buying one.

  8. I also received this same “unofficially, but it is 100 percent correct” e-mail a few days ago. Glad to see such a project begin. Waiting to confirm the new ownership thu my informant.

    Cheers, Mark

  9. Armin says:

    “It is presumed that it is named after Gartbreck Farm, which lies on the road from Bowmore to the airport and is within sight of the Bowmore distillery.”

    This is at best partially correct though. Gartbreck is quite a distance from the A846, I’d say about 2 miles. I also doubt you can see Bowmore distillery from it. Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte yes (assuming there is no fog), but not Bowmore distillery. Probably not even much of Bowmore.

  10. Teuchter says:

    This is old news on Islay.

  11. Johanna says:

    “This is old news on Islay.” Indeed. That said the really interesting part of this story is the money/savvy behind the operation, but they don’t seem ready to come out of the closet just yet :o)

  12. casacaudill says:

    We were on Islay last week and I fell in love with the place. Anything that continues to drive positive economics for the area is in my mind a benefit. And hey, more Islay whisky? Sign me up.

  13. Danny Maguire says:

    Good news for the island. Is the bubble about to burst? Who knows. An interesting one to keep an eye on. Up and running by 2015, presumably they’ll have product available in 2018. Watch that space.

  14. Fred Phelps says:

    Will this push the annual whisky festival out to nine days?

  15. Garrit Forster says:

    Fine! But what’s about PORT ELLEN and the other SILENT STILLS from ISLAY!

    • Danny Maguire says:

      My guess is that Port Ellen will stay silent. Port Charlotte will eventually be built, Mark Renier bought the hardware from Inverleven when that was demolished, don’t know if they’ve made a start yet; could be worth looking on Google Maps to see if they show anything.

      • Armin says:

        I wouldn’t waste time looking at Google Maps. Both streetview and satellite are a few years out of date. But there are plenty people either living on Islay or visiting Islay reading here.

  16. Donnie says:

    Bruichladdich’s “port charlotte distillery” plans were shelved long ago for financial reasons. Remember the “first hole was dug” on the build in 2005, and there has been no work done since. About 3 years ago now. Yes they did buy the hardware but most of it has lain outside the port charlotte warehouses in the elements for the last 10 years. They did integrate some of it into bruichladdich, including “ugly betty” and the still that its on the front green. It was probably no more than a publicity stunt in the first place.

    • Danny Maguire says:

      Wouldn’t surprise me, the one thing Mark Renier was good at was publicity. However the new owners may have different ideas. It’s a case of wait and see.

      • Donald MacKenzie says:

        Hey! Not just a Mark Reynier publicity stunt – he’s a man of his word btw, as I’m sure John will attest. Now it’s up to Rémy Cointreau to move forward with the Port Charlotte project and I for one believe that a) they have pockets deep enough to finance, and b)the willpower to see it through… watch this space 🙂

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