Plans have been approved for what will become Islay’s 12th Scotch malt whisky distillery. Laggan Bay is set to be developed by whisky bottlers and brewers The Islay Boys, in association with Ian Macleod Distillers.
Argyll and Bute Council has granted planning permission for the distillery, which The Islay Boys said will produce ‘a traditional, double-distillation Islay whisky’, at Glenegedale in Laggan Bay, close to the island’s airport.
The new development, on a two-hectare site, will also include a new brewery building for Islay Ales, the Hebridean island’s only brewery, which The Islay Boys acquired in 2018. The brewery and distillery will be located less than a mile from Islay’s longest beach, the Big Strand in Laggan Bay.
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The Islay Boys are Mackay Smith and Donald MacKenzie, both originally from the Rhinns peninsula on Islay’s west coast, who established the business as an independent Scotch whisky bottling company in 2016.
They sell a range of single malt and blended malt Scotch whiskies under such brands as Flatnöse, Bårelegs and Picti.
Laggan Bay Distillery will be developed in a partnership between The Islay Boys and Ian Macleod Distillers, the family-owned Scotch whisky company that owns the Glengoyne and Tamdhu single malts, and Edinburgh Gin.
Ian Macleod Distillers is currently reviving the Rosebank distillery in Falkirk, mothballed in 1993 and home to the historic triple-distilled Lowland single malt of the same name.
The Islay Boys and Ian Macleod are said to have a long-standing relationship, with Ian Macleod Distillers chairman Leonard Russell saying: ‘I have known and worked with The Islay Boys for a long time, and I’m delighted to be able to bring our long experience in creating quality Scotch single malts to the Laggan Bay Distillery project.’
When complete, Laggan Bay is set to become the 12th active malt whisky distillery on Islay, after the development of two other new distilleries over the next few years. Diageo is currently reviving the cult Port Ellen distillery, with the new plant set to open in 2023, 40 years after the original distillery closed, while Elixir Distillers is developing Portintruan, located between Port Ellen and Laphroaig on Islay’s southern coast, which is set to start production in 2024.
The nine distilleries currently operational are Ardbeg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.
The last whisky distillery to open on Islay was Ardnahoe, located in the northeast of the island and overlooking the isle of Jura, which was opened by independent whisky bottlers Hunter Laing in late 2018.