I found a remarkable, and disturbing, news item on the Bruichladdich website today. It seems that due to the bad weather from the last weeeks the oil-supply came to a halt, which caused the shutting down of several whisky distilleries on Islay.
A quote from the Bruichladdich Distillery:
"Islay is running on empty. The stills are being turned off as distilleries end whisky production for the foreseeable future. The oil has finally run out. And it’s nothing to do with the Middle East. The island’s eight distillers are dependant on nine oil deliveries a year, brought to the island by sea. The oil delivery scheduled for 17th November was turned back forcing distilleries to shut off their stills and close down production as supplies dwindled and finally ran out today. Roughly 250 barrels per day of new whisky are made on the island which equals to a liability of £988,000 of Alcohol Duty a day. With no road tankers available for this type of oil delivery and exceptionally high freight charges by State-run ferry operator Calmac, and restricted capacity for commercial vehicles, there is no viable alternative fuel source.
The tanker returned to harbour after being moored in Lochindaal for 4 days without unloading. Although the wind was modest (for Islay) the conditions at the exposed pier was deemed to be unsuitable. Apparently only perfectly calm conditions are appropriate. Since then, there has been a series of gales lashing the island preventing further supply. A re-supply attempt is anticipated once a period of calm weather arrives. But that is not expected soon. Islay is buffeted by 25 gales a year from low pressure systems mainly during the winter months."
The cause for all this misery is a combination of European Legislation regarding to double skin tankers and renovation of the pier at Bruichladdich. Tankers can now only unload in calm weather which doesn't occur much in the wintertime on Islay.