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Bunnahabhain Distillery in £10.5m upgrade

Published:  26 February, 2019

Bunnahabhain Distillery has begun a three year overhaul after owner Distell International invested £10.5 million to undergo an “extensive upgrade and refresh” of the distillery.

A number of the original buildings that made up the distillery will be restored while others will be removed and relocated to create more space, which Bunnahabhain said would allow for “better operational flow across the site and to enhance the experience for visitors to the distillery”.

Over 99% of the materials processed during the demolition have been recycled, with the majority retained for re-use at the distillery.

A major part of the refurbishment will be the creation of a new ‘brand home’ and visitor centre, featuring a café and retail space overlooking Bunnahabhain Bay and the Sound of Islay. It’s expected to be ready for the start of the 2020 season.

“Our investment programme, here at Bunnahabhain, is about improving the operational side of our distillery for the long term future,” said Derek Scott, brand director for Malts at Distell International. “We are restoring our buildings to their former glory and providing a visitor experience where we don’t just welcome visitors, after the long winding journey to get here, we help them enjoy a piece of Bunnahabhain life.

“The plans aim to make the navigation of the site much easier for the visitor and to, in simple terms, declutter it. This will ensure the buildings are more efficient from a storage point of view and located in better suited, more accessible locations to the production buildings. Furthermore, we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the works. The whisky industry is starting to be more environmentally aware and our achievement of recycling over 99% of materials shows, with a little bit of extra effort, it is remarkable what we can achieve.

“Bunnahabhain has a special place in Islay’s whisky heritage and we are committed to retaining this by turning Bunnahabhain Bay into a world-class whisky destination of choice. As the most remote and northerly distillery on the island, our transformation will give those who have made the journey time to pause, forget about the rest of the world and enjoy the serene surroundings.”