Single malt distilleries Port Ellen and Brora are to be reopened by owner Diageo in a £35m investment, with production scheduled to start again in 2020.
The whisky distilleries, which have been silent since they were closed in 1983, will be brought back into production through a £35m investment by Diageo, the world’s leading Scotch whisky company.
In the 34 years since Brora and Port Ellen were closed, the whiskies they produced have become some of the most highly prized and sought after liquids in Scotch whisky.
They were renowned for exceptional quality and character; elevating the ghost distilleries to cult status amongst whisky enthusiasts and collectors.
Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, who played an instrumental role in building the reputation of Port Ellen and Brora whiskies through the Diageo Special Releases programme, which has been running since 2001, announced the plans on behalf of the company.
Morgan said: “This is a truly exceptional moment in Scotch whisky. Port Ellen and Brora are names which have a uniquely powerful resonance with whisky-lovers around the world and the opportunity to bring these lost distilleries back to life is as rare and special as the spirit for which the distilleries are famous.”
For many years whisky fans around the world have called on Diageo to reopen these closed distilleries.
The decision is partly a response to those demands from existing enthusiasts but it also reflects the strong growth in the single malt Scotch market and the opportunity to create new generations of whisky consumers.
Port Ellen Distillery on the famous whisky island of Islay, and Brora on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, will both be reinstated to distil in carefully controlled quantities, with a meticulous attention to detail, replicating where possible the distillation regimes and spirit character of the original distilleries.
Cask filling and traditional warehousing will also be included on the sites of both distilleries.
The distilleries will also have dedicated Brand Homes to welcome guests and they are expected to become iconic attractions in the Scottish tourism landscape, attracting whisky pilgrims from around the globe.
Morgan added: “Only a very few people will ever be able to try the original Port Ellen and Brora single malts as they become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled that we will now be able to produce new expressions of these whiskies for new generations of people to enjoy.
“Scotch whisky is Scotland’s gift to the world and the rebirth of these distilleries is a great gift to malt whisky lovers everywhere.”