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Diageo pledges US$46m to revive Brora, Port Ellen Scotch whisky distilleries

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"To say that we're thrilled is an understatement" - Diageo's head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan

Diageo is to bring two so-called "lost" Scotch whisky distilleries back into production, with a GBP35m (US$46m) investment.

The Port Ellen distillery on Islay was closed in 1983

The Port Ellen distillery on Islay was closed in 1983

The distilleries, Brora and Port Ellen, were both closed in 1983, but liquid from the sites has fetched increasingly high prices as Scotch collectors seek out rare whisky. Earlier today, Diageo said it plans to revive the distilleries, with the aim of getting them back online by 2020.

The company's president of global supply & procurement, David Cutter, said the project was "no ordinary investment".

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring these iconic distilleries back to life," Cutter said.

Diageo said in a press release that it would remain "true to the spirit" of the original distilleries and try to retain the taste profiles of Port Ellen and Brora, with medium-peated character at both sites. Cask filling and traditional warehousing will also be included on the sites of both distilleries. Once reopened, they will be among Diageo's smallest distilleries, with an annual capacity of 800,000 litres of alcohol per year.

Port Ellen is on the westerly island of Islay, adjacent to Diageo's Port Ellen Maltings facility and a few miles from the Lagavulin distillery. Brora is in the village of that name on Scotland's north east coast, adjacent to Diageo's Clynelish distillery.

From the start of this millennium, limited-edition bottlings of Brora and Port Ellen have been released annually from Diageo's rare, original stocks

Diageo currently operates 28 malt distilleries and one grain distillery and has a 50% share in a further grain distillery.

Has Diageo made a mistake in bringing back Brora and Port Ellen? - Editor's Viewpoint


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo

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