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Diageo to revive ‘lost’ distilleries

Diageo has announced that it is planning to revive the ‘lost’ distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora in what the company calls a “powerful statement of confidence in the future of Scotch whisky”.

Diageo is making a £35m investment to bring the two distilleries back into production, after they were closed in 1983. In the 34 years since Brora and Port Ellen were closed, the whiskies they produced have become some of the most highly prized and sought after liquids in Scotch whisky. And Diageo has said it is now embarking on a program with a meticulous attention to detail, to bring the distilleries back into production.

Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach, said: “This is a truly exceptional moment in Scotch whisky. Port Ellen and Brora are names which have a uniquely powerful resonance with whisky-lovers around the world and the opportunity to bring these lost distilleries back to life is as rare and special as the spirit for which the distilleries are famous.

“Only a very few people will ever be able to try the original Port Ellen and Brora single malts as they become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled that we will now be able to produce new expressions of these whiskies for new generations of people to enjoy.

“Scotch whisky is Scotland’s gift to the world and the rebirth of these distilleries is a great gift to malt whisky lovers everywhere.”
Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo’s global Scotch Category Director, said: “Brora and Port Ellen are rightly revered around the world for their rarity and exceptional quality. Everything we do with these distilleries and brands will remain true to these values.

“It is thrilling that, as the spirit from the original distilleries becomes vanishingly rare, our distillers at Brora and Port Ellen will be carefully crafting new whiskies to delight and inspire new generations of Scotch lovers around the world.”

The new Brora and Port Ellen distilleries will be among Diageo’s smallest distilleries, capable of producing 800,000 litres of alcohol per year. They will replicate as closely as possible the previous taste profiles of Port Ellen and Brora, with medium peated character at both sites.

Subject to planning permission and regulatory consents, detailed design, construction and commissioning work, Diageo is expecting the distilleries will be in production by 2020.

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