Two islay distilleries increasing production under new ownership

The Bruihladdich and Ardbeg Scotch whisky distilleries in Islay, each under new ownership, are to hit vastly increased production in the new year.

Ardbeg is moving into round the clock, 24/7, production mode, aiming to produce 1.1 million litres, up 57% on last year’s output.

Bruichladdich is to double production to tis maximum possible of 1.5 million litres – and take on more staff.

Ardbeg in now owned by high-end luxury goods conglomerate, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy; and Bruichladdich was bought from a private Islay company for £58 million this summer by France’s Remy Cointreau.

For Bruichladdich, the French connection is opening up new markets with substantially increased demand; and Ardbeg is acting in a similar need to respond to new volumes of demand.

All of this speaks for the health of the Islay economy, with its eight internationally known single malt whisky distilleries – including the new Kilchoman, which, astonishingly, made its mark at once.

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35 Responses to Two islay distilleries increasing production under new ownership

  1. Is this really good news? In the short term, undoubtedly, but in the long term? What was a private Islay based distillery has now been swallowed up by a large Continental conglomerate, so its fortunes and future will be determined elsewhere. Am I mistaken, or have we been here before? Time will tell.

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  2. Ba chings! Iss ‘at sohh? Weel, noo wi kan awe droon urr sorrohhs caws ‘t’ill bi cheeperr, richt.

    Appie Noo Yerr tae aal o’ yoos… och aye, th…

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  3. Bruichladdich got some extra publicity over christmas when it – and Islay, and the good ship Finlaggan, featured on one of the Eddie Stobart trucking series of ‘docudramas’ (So many repeats that I’d watch almost anything that wasn’t)

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  4. Robert Wakeham.
    This was possibly the Eddie Stobart one which was originally shown in December 2011 and showed the driver sleeping in his cab at Kennacraig not knowing whether he would get to Bruichladdich Islay because of stormy weather. In the event the ferry arrived safely at Port Askaig.

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    • There was some fakery involved in that journey, because before the truck reached the Kennacraig terminal, it was shown turning round beside a sign which said ‘Arran Ferry’ which is half a mile *beyond* the very clearly signposted Kennacraig. Then on Islay, didn’t I see the truck driving along a single track road, whereas my recollection, which I’m sure Treble T will confirm, is that there is a perfectly good normal width road all the way from Port Askaig to Bruichladdich. In other words, the journey was made to look a lot more difficult than it really was, presumably by the producer wanting to make a more “interesting” programme. I hope it didn’t put other truck drivers off going to the island.

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      • I wasn’t paying 100% attention, but there was a clip of the truck on the single track approach to Kennacraig across the causeway, and wasn’t there reference to a wrong turn, which seemed to have involved overshooting the Kennacraig road end?

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  5. Robert.
    That Welsh person is not too far off the mark.
    Last May I was sitting in the forward lounge of the Hebridean Isles at Kennacraig waiting for the start of the 18.00 Sunday evening sailing to Islay.
    The Finlaggan came in to dock at the pier at Kennacraig and disappeared from view. I looked out of the window and could not see her. The Finlaggan is a lot shorter in length than the Heb Isles and a good bit taller in height.
    I would not like to be on the Finlaggan in very windy weather as I feel that the Finlaggan is top heavy.
    I think that the Lord of the Isles is a super ferry and would prefer if it was on the Islay run all year round.

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      • Are the two linkspans at Kennacraig exactly aligned with each other? If not, that might suggest that Treble T’s observation was flawed. Also, the last time I travelled on the Hebridean Isles, admittedly a while ago, she came into Kennacraig bow first so if that is always the case Treble T. couldn’t have seen the Finlaggan disappear from view.

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        • Alex McKay As far as I am aware the two linkspans are aligned but I am not an expert on the matter! The ferry usually loads stern first in Islay so as to unload bow first at Kennacraig.

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  6. I apologise for my error however there is nothing wrong with my eyesight. I am not the first person to have remarked that the MV Finlaggan looks like it has had it rear chopped off and the height of the Finlaggan makes it look “top heavy”.

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  7. Alex McKay.
    From memory I think that the Eddie Stobart driver missed the Kennacraig turn off and only realised it when he saw the sign for the “Arran Ferry”. The weather that night was dreadful.
    The road between Port Askaig and Bruichladdich is double width although not as wide as the A83 to Campbeltown.
    Juggernaught drivers have two choices when driving on the main roads on Islay. They can either drive with their vehicle slightly over the centre of the road or they can break up the edge of the road next to the verge.
    I have seen lorries driving over the centre of the main road between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich when I walk down the road with my two West Highland White dogs to buy my Dundee Courier.

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    • I’m pretty sure that the full length of road from Port Askaig to the Bridgend junction has been improved to at least the historic standard width of 18’6″ (5.5m) for main roads in Argyll, that the road onwards to Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte is narrower but still 2-way, and only becomes tricky – epecially for passing trucks – from there onwards to Portnahaven (although not officially designated as single track with passing places).

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  8. Treble T. I think you are being generous towards the truck driver. The Islay ferry turning is very well signposted and the driver would have been looking out for it. And don’t forget there was a producer and camera crew there, too. I’ve watched one or two of the Eddie Stobart series and they were both “hyped”: will the driver arrive at the correct destination? Will the driver find the destination before running out of hours? That sort of thing – all designed to make the programmes seem more “interesting” than delivering goods by truck is in reality. My recollection of the Islay programme was of the truck driving down a narrow single-track road taking up the full width of the road. You confirm that the direct road between port and distillery is double-track. This certainly wasn’t. It was, I’m sure, just another ploy by the producer to make the journey seem more difficult than it really was.
    What’s the Dundee Courier got to do with anything?

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    • As a lorry driver in Islay I must say most of the roads have plenty of room to meet other vehicles including HGVs and of course the locals know where room needs to be given. Alex, I think the impression given of the single track road would be the last mile or so going towards Bruichladdich which is fairly narrow with a lot of corners and needs careful driving.Robert, they never reached Bridgend with the road improvement but stopped about 3 mile short. All your other points are correct though.

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  9. Alex McKay.
    I was explaining that I walk down the main road between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich every day (Monday to Saturday) to get my Dundee Courier.
    As en ex-pat Dundonian I can still keep up to date with local news and sport in Dundee something I cannot do with all the other Scottish daily newspapers.

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  10. James Walsh.
    I am afraid that I must disagree with you.
    You just need to walk down the side of the main roads in Islay to see all the broken tarmac and tread marks gouged into the grass verges.
    Whilst walking for my daily paper I see large lorries driving over the centre of the road. I find the low road from Bowmore to Port Ellen is the narrowest of them all where you take your life in your hands trying to overtake a large lorry or huge tractor with a trailer.
    Driving on the A83 from Kennacraig to Tarbert Loch Fyne feels like driving on a motorway compared to the roads on Islay.
    I have been driving for almost 40 years having passed my driving test in Dundee.

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    • I am in complete agreement with you on the A83 point but how you can think the A846 between the two villages is the narrowest of all, oh wait you thought the Finlaggan was smaller than the Heb Isles. I have been driving for over 40 years, 35 on HGVs, and believe me there are far worse roads than Islay. How many lorries drive down your road without leaving gouge marks on the verges? You can’t always blame the roads.

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  11. James Walsh.
    You might change your views if you were driving a car on Islay instead of an HGV.
    However the standard of driving by some car drivers on Islay is very poor. How they passed their driving test is beyond me.

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  12. Treble T. I just felt that the reason why you were walking along the road was redundant. But I see from your further comments that you clearly have this need to drag Dundee into the conversation! Personally, I’m glad it’s the other side of the country – not my favourite Scottish city, by a long way. Indeed, bottom of the list as far as I am concerned. Give me Glasgow every time!
    As for driving skills, I’ve been told you can pass your driving test on Islay where there are no traffic lights, no roundabouts, no dual carriageways, and very light traffic, and are immediately qualified to drive on motorways, in towns and cities (even Dundee), etc., etc.

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  13. Alex McKay.
    I do not agree with your views about the City of Dundee and I often wonder why I emigrated to Islay.
    However you are quite correct that people can pass their driving test on Islay with no roundabouts, traffic lights, dual carriageways etc.
    In my opinion if people sit their driving tests on Islay then they should receive a restricted driving licence which only allows them to drive on Islay.
    If they wish to drive on the Mainland then they must sit their driving test in a city or large town.

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  14. Good luck to them.
    I prefer to stay behind the lorries and tractors on the Low road rather than possibily end up on the verge.
    Personally speaking I usually use the High Road despite the passing places as in the main the road surface is better than the Low Road.

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