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Plans For A New Islay Distillery Outside Port Ellen

There are plans for a new Distillery on Islay, one between Port Ellen and Laphroaig, very likely at a site called Farkin, around a mile outside the village. Behind this new distillery is Sukhinder Singh, co-founder of Elixir Distillers and spirits retailer The Whisky Exchange. The rumours about this new distillery started already in 2014 and yesterday the plans were officially revealed. There is no name yet for this distillery but there is a good chance it will be called Farkin Distillery, see another artcile I wrote about fourteen distilleries on Islay.

With Ardnahoe opening in May, this new distillery opening in 2020 and Port Ellen around that same time Islay will have 11 whisky distilleries in the near future! continue reading...

Diageo to Invest Millions in Whisky Tourism

Diageo, owners of Caol Ila and Lagavulin Distillery on Islay and the Port Ellen Maltings is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, with its headquarters in London, England. Diageo's brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and Guinness. They are the world's biggest whisky producer with around 30 whisky distilleries in Scotland, and two of these are on Islay with a third one opening in a few years, Port Ellen Distillery.

A few weeks ago Diageo announced a £150 million investment over three years to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences in the biggest concerted programme ever seen in Scotland’s whisky tourism sector. The centre-piece of the investment will be a new state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience based in Edinburgh, bringing to life the story of the world’s most popular Scotch whisky and creating a unique welcome for millions of Scotch fans around the world. Continue reading...

Catching up on April

We've been away for most of the month of April due to family circumstances and arrived home Sunday night on the Isle of Arran ferry, yes it is still sailing. It's great to be back on Islay and to see that spring is progressing, albeit rather slowly due to the low temperatures. April is always a great month to be on Islay, lambing is underway and everywhere you'll hear and see the wee woolly newcomers running around in the fields, and sometimes on the roads as well, so be carefull! Most of the winter visitors, such as the Barnacle Geese, have left the island and now is the time that more summer visitors, the tourists, find their way to Islay.

Woodland Planting Day

Dunlossit Estate’s Woodland Planting Day was quite a success. Over 50 volunteers braved the cold weather to plant 2000 trees commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The community planting day on Dunlossit Estate saw willow, rowan, alder, birch and other native trees going into the ground. Continue reading...

What is wrong with Islay?

The reason triggering my scribbles about some problems on Islay was an article I came across yesterday, which was spot on about some urgent issues on Islay. It's written by Lesley Riddoch and published in the online Scotsman. The title of the article is "Whisky leaves a bitter taste for Islay". So, what is wrong with Islay? Nothing I hear most of you say and on the surface, no not the road surface, all looks fine and dandy. But just as any place in the world Islay has its problems. The main problem Islay has is Infrastructure such as roads, ferries and broadband as well as housing. These problems cause anger and discontent amongst locals and sometimes also tourists, although the latter group only have to deal with them for a short period of time. The roads, most of them at least, are in a terrible state and need very urgent repairs. These roads were never built for the amount of heavy distillery lorries on Islay. Millions are needed but less and less money is spent on roads due to shrinking council budgets. A failing and crumbling infrastructure is a bad thing and has a huge impact on the economy and daily life of the islanders and its businesses.

Ferry Service

The ferry service is adequate at best, most of the times, and inadequate some of the times, like the single ferry service in the run up to Easter. It's adequate when there are 5 to 6 sailings a day but that's far from ideal. Why not have a sailing from Islay at 5am for early travellers and freight? And one from Kennacraig at 7 or 8 pm? That schedule gives you a day in Glasgow for a hospital appointment or shopping and more options to catch an early plane in Glasgow or an onwards connection elsewhere. With such a schedule it's also easy to include an extra sailing when demand rises in busy periods. Do the maths and you'll see that it works! Continue reading...

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