Fans of the iconic Port Ellen are a step closer to having the dream of whisky once again coming from the distillery realised, after local authorities approved plans to bring back production.
Planners at Argyll & Bute Council, which covers Islay, approved plans to restore the distillery “through an inspirational combination of heritage and originality”.
As part of the plans the historic pagoda-roofed kiln house will be restored alongside the creation of new state-of-the-art production buildings.
Georgie Crawford, the Master Distiller leading the Port Ellen project, said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone in our journey to bring Port Ellen back into production.
“We are grateful to Argyll & Bute Council and to the local community who have engaged positively with us during the planning process. We are incredibly excited to begin the next phase of the project and to make our long-cherished dream of restoring Port Ellen distillery a reality.”
The Port Ellen distillery has endured a stop-start life after it first opened in 1825. The distillery was then closed and was largely demolished in the 1930s, before it was rebuilt and reopened in the 1960s.
In 1983 the distillery was again closed, with very few of the original buildings remaining. The original kiln building with its classic pagoda roofs and the sea-front warehouses will be restored as integral parts of the revived distillery, with a new stillhouse created to house distillation.
Since its closure in 1983 port Ellen has become a favourite with whisky connoisseurs and collectors and has regularly featured in the annual Diageo Special Releases range.
The reopening of Port Ellen forms part of Diageo’s £150m investment in Scotch whisky tourism which is realising new and improved distillery visitor centres across Scotland.