‘Lost’ Brora distillery project secures planning permission

Diageo’s plans to restore and reopen Brora distillery have moved forward this week after news that the project has been granted planning permission by the Highland Council.

Artist’s impression of the Brora Distillery. Image: Norr

Diageo’s £35 million plan to reopen the so-called ‘lost’ distilleries Brora and Port Ellen was announced last year, with the aim to bring them back into production by 2020.

Both Brora and Islay’s Port Ellen were closed in 1983 and have since gained a strong following among whisky fans, who have been able to pick up bottles via the Diageo Special Releases programme, which has been running since 2001.

Originally known as the Clynelish Distillery, Diageo plans to restore Brora’s original buildings, which date back to 1819, to ensure the distillery “retains its original character, but is structurally capable of once more producing the finest quality spirit”.

The bolster its structural integrity, Brora’s still house will be demolished and then rebuilt stone-by-stone.

Based on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, the distillery will be “reinstated to distill in carefully controlled quantities”.

Both Port Ellen and Brora will be two of Diageo’s smallest distilleries with a capacity of 800,000 litres a year.

Stewart Bowman, Brora distillery project implementation manager, said: “This is a key milestone in our journey to bring Brora distillery back into production.

“Everyone involved is raring to get going with the work to restore the beautiful distillery buildings so they can once more produce the spirit that Brora is famous for.

“We will now begin the painstaking work of bringing down and reconstructing the still house with care and attention to detail so that every stone is perfect”.

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