Elixir Distillers revises plans for Islay distillery

Elixir Distillers, founded by Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh of retailer The Whisky Exchange, has submitted new plans for its Islay distillery with a more traditional frontage.

In a statement, the spirits producer said it hoped its plans were a “step closer to reality” after submitting a revised proposal to the Argyll & Bute planning department.

The proposed distillery will be based just outside the town of Port Ellen, and will feature a floor malting facility capable of supplying 75% of the annual one million-litre capacity of the site.

Following “extensive conversations” with the Argyll & Bute planning team, the plans now depict a more traditional exterior that is in-keeping with the look of other coastal distilleries.

Elixir first submitted plans for the distillery on 25 April 2018. 

The site will also have space for 16 washbacks and four sets of pot stills, together with a separate experimental still producing 200,000 litres of spirit per year.

A statement said the site will feature smaller stills, and will use a mixture of modern and traditional yeasts with longer fermentation times. The distillery will also employ modern heat reclaim technology in order to boost energy efficiency and reduce its impact on the environment.

According to Elixir, a “range of styles of whisky will be produced” with the aim of ensuring that Islay “stays at the forefront of Scotch whisky innovation”.

In addition to the distilling equipment, the site will also boast a visitor centre and multi-purpose educational facility, which will host training and apprenticeship programmes.

Commenting on the new plans, Sukhinder Singh said: “I wanted to build a distillery on Islay because I have always loved the island, its people and its whiskies. I’ve been a regular visitor to the island for over 25 years and must have tasted close to 3,000 different Islay whisky bottlings.

“From a liquid point of view, we are determined to produce the greatest spirit possible. We want to create something that inspires the people of Islay and our customers, and enhances the reputation of Islay as a source of some of the world’s greatest whiskies.

“Our hope is that our distillery becomes an integral part of the island community, and one of our key priorities is to work collaboratively with the local community to ensure everyone benefits.”

An additional planning application will be submitted this month for the construction of eight staff houses. Elixir hope to build further accommodation on the site on what is now called Torradale Farm.

In consultation with the Islay Community Council, Elixir also hope to launch a charitable fund which they will contribute to on an annual basis once construction on the distillery begins. The funds will be managed by a board of trustees sourced from the Islay community.

Elixir’s first contribution will be a donation of £1 from the sale of every bottle of its 2020 Port Askaig limited edition release. This is predicted to raise around £15,000.

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