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Distell pumps US$14m into Bunnahabhain site upgrade

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Distell has announced plans to spend almost US$14m on updating its Bunnahabhain Scotch whisky distillery on the western island of Islay.

Bunnahabhain is located on the north coast of Islay

Bunnahabhain is located on the north coast of Islay

The South Africa-based group said today that GBP10.5m (US$13.7m) will be invested on the site, with a view to improve "operational flow" and "enhance the experience for visitors". The three-year project comprises the relocating of four existing warehouses for a visitors centre and the upgrading of the pumphouse.

The production building will also be the subject of refurbishment along with construction of a new filling store, while the visitors centre should be open in time for the 2020 tourist season. When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for Distell confirmed the distillery's production capacity would not change.

"Our investment programme … is about improving the operational side of our distillery for the long-term future," said Derek Scott, brand director for malts at Distell International. "We are restoring our buildings to their former glory and providing a visitor experience where … after the long, winding journey to get here, we help [visitors] enjoy a piece of Bunnahabhain life.

"The plans aim to … ensure the buildings are more efficient from a storage point of view and located in better suited, more accessible locations to the production buildings."

Distell inherited Bunnahabhain when it acquired parent company Burn Stewart Distillers in 2013 for just under $244m. The group also took ownership of two other distilleries: Deanston in Perthshire and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

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Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Distell

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