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Diageo gets green light for £35m Port Ellen distillery revival

Local authorities in Scotland have given Diageo the green light to restore a historic whisky distillery on the island of Islay.

Argyll & Bute Council planners have approved an application from Diageo to fully restore the buildings of the ‘lost’ Port Ellen distillery, which was originally opened in 1824, and construct a new still house containing two pairs of copper pot stills.

Diageo revealed blueprints for the Port Ellen distillery at a public consultation on 29 January 2019. It will include two separate distillation regimes which will allow the distillery to both retain its original character and to experiment with different flavour profiles.

The development is part of a £35 million project Diageo launched in October 2017 to bring back Port Ellen on Islay and Brora distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983.

Diageo received planning permission from the Highland Council for its Brora plans in October 2018, which involves restoring the distillery’s original buildings, which date back to 1819. Both distilleries are expected to be in production by 2021.

Georgie Crawford, the master distiller leading the Port Ellen project, said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone in our journey to bring Port Ellen back into production.

“We are grateful to Argyll & Bute Council and to the local community who have engaged positively with us during the planning process. We are incredibly excited to begin the next phase of the project and to make our long-cherished dream of restoring Port Ellen distillery a reality.”

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