Bunnahabhain Distillery set for £10.5 million upgrade

Bunnahabhain Distillery is set for a visitor centre and distillery upgrade, as part of a £10.5 million investment by brand owner Distell International.

The Islay-based distillery will get a new visitor centre by 2020. The new ‘brand home’ will also feature a café and retail space, and it will be positioned along the shoreline with views overlooking Bunnahabhain Bay and the Sound of Islay.

As part of the overall upgrade, a number of the original buildings will be carefully restored to give them a new lease of life, while others will be removed or relocated to create more space. The six cottages alongside the distillery will eventually be used as holiday accommodation.

Derek Scott, brand director for Malts at Distell International, said: “Our investment programme, here at Bunnahabhain, is about improving the operational side of our distillery for the long-term future. We are restoring our buildings to their former glory and providing a visitor experience where we don’t just welcome visitors, after the long winding journey to get here, we help them enjoy a piece of Bunnahabhain life.

“The plans aim to make the navigation of the site much easier for the visitor and to, in simple terms, declutter it. This will ensure the buildings are more efficient from a storage point of view and located in better suited, more accessible locations to the production buildings. Furthermore, we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the works.

"The whisky industry is starting to be more environmentally aware and our achievement of recycling over 99% of materials shows, with a little bit of extra effort, it is remarkable what we can achieve.

“Bunnahabhain has a special place in Islay’s whisky heritage and we are committed to retaining this by turning Bunnahabhain Bay into a world-class whisky destination of choice. As the most remote and northerly distillery on the island, our transformation will give those who have made the journey time to pause, forget about the rest of the world and enjoy the serene surroundings.”

Distell owns four single malts and a number of Scotch brands across three distillery sites. The distilleries include Bunnhabhain on the Isle of Islay; Deanston in Doune, Perthshire; and Tobermory, based on the Isle of Mull.

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