Bruichladdich, based on the Scottish island of Islay, has had to switch its stills off as it has run out of oil.

The company said today (30 November) that all eight distillers on the island have been hit by a lack of oil. A delivery scheduled for 17 November was turned back, leaving the island's distillers running on fumes.

The island has been hit by a series of gales since the failed delivery, postponing the arrival of more oil stocks by ship. Bruichladdich highlighted what it calls "a piece of well-meaning European legislation", requiring enlarged, double skin tankers to be used exclusively by 2008 to prevent spillage of oil at sea. The local council has spent GBP4m on altering the existing pier at Islay, despite local opposition claiming that the design was not fit for the island's exposed Atlantic location.

The new tankers are only able to dock in totally calm weather conditions - something that is proving increasingly hard to find around the island as winter approaches.

"Shell have left the island in the lurch," said Bruichladdich distillery managing director Mark Reynier. "They approved the pier as fit for purpose when it plainly isn't. The island needs distilling - and distilleries need oil.

"This isn't the Mediterranean; this is the North Atlantic. It is windy here especially during the winter. We did warn them. The whole new pier scheme has been a fiasco.

"We managed to finish our 2006 Islay-grown Bere barley distillation overnight before running out - but it was touch and go. To have lost that harvest would have been disastrous."

The company is subsequently hoping to adapt its boiler to run on diesel.