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Port Ellen Distillery Reopens After 41 Years

41 years after the venerable Port Ellen Distillery closed in 1983, an all-new Port Ellen distillery has opened on Islay. The project, seven years in the making, completes Diageo’s £185 million investment in upgrading its Scotch Whisky distilleries and visitors centers.

The centerpiece of the project is an all-new carbon-neutral still house with two sets of stills. One set replicates the original Port Ellen stills, while the second set will be for experimental projects.

In a statement, Port Ellen Master Distiller Alistair McDonald said “It is an honour to take up this
new position at the helm of an iconic distillery and build on Port Ellen’s pioneering past. Port Ellen
holds a very special place in the hearts of passionate whisky aficionados, and to see spirit flow off
these stills once again is an incredible moment for the Islay community and wider whisky world. We
are deeply committed to pushing the boundaries of Scotch through experimentation – I’m excited to
see what we can now create.”

Diageo announced plans to revive Port Ellen in 2017, along with the Brora distillery in the Highlands. Construction issues on Islay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the Port Ellen project by nearly two years. Port Ellen is the first new distillery to open on Islay since Ardnahoe in 2018, and is the island’s tenth working distillery.

Image courtesy Diageo.