I’m sure you are already aware that today Ardbeg announced to the Ardbeg Committee that it has submitted planning applications with Argyll and Bute council for the development of a second stillhouse. Effectively doubling capacity at Ardbeg by 2019 – if everything runs smoothly. Ardbeg is the second smallest distillery by capacity on Islay after the smallest Kilchoman. The plans are to redevelop an area that previously held warehouses, demolished back in the 1980’s, thus leaving the current structure of the distillery unchanged and allowing the primary stillhouse to continue operations. The new boiler house is currently taking shape too at Ardbeg which will aid with the increase in distilling capacity. Unlike our headline I have reservations that this will in fact make Ardbeg any cheaper, or the rumours that Stillhouse A production will be called ‘Ard’ and stillhouse B ‘Beg’ and only blended malts production from both stillhouses be bottled as Ardbeg. More Ardbeg in the world is nothing but a good thing so may we wish them every success with this expansion and it give us another reason (as if we needed one!) to revisit this wonderful little distillery.
During our last visit we spent a lot of time in the old malting floors, now used as function space as evidenced by the recent wedding paraphernalia left hanging up. Perhaps a return to floor malting at Ardbeg is also possible in the future…?
Still room for a little expansion…
We’ve come a long way since re-opening the mothballed Ardbeg Distillery in 1997. This is due in no small part to you, the Ardbeg Committee. Now the Distillery is undergoing a momentous change. And true to form, we wanted you to be the first to hear about it.
As you know, in the world of whisky Ardbeg is a giant, but in this little corner of the world we’re still small by comparison to our Islay neighbours. In fact, we’re the second smallest distillery on the island. But such is the demand for Ardbeg we have decided (after much deliberation) that it is now time for the Distillery to slightly expand.
…but still the same Ardbeg
So plans are a-foot (and currently with the local Council) for a new Still House to allow us to add two more stills, making a grand total of four. In addition, we’re already steaming ahead with the construction of a shiny new Boiler Room.
Rest assured, the iconic white buildings that are now a fixture on Islay’s southern coast aren’t going anywhere. Our new Still House will be very much in keeping with the original Distillery we all know and love. In fact it will sit where several erstwhile warehouses (demolished around 1980) once stood. We’re looking forward to bringing back to life this little corner of the Distillery, restoring it to its former glory.
And while the Distillery lads will enjoy tinkering with the new equipment, we won’t be tampering with the whisky. We’ll still be taking our time crafting every drop of Ardbeg with the love and care it deserves.
A massive thanks
If we get the go-ahead, the work will begin this year for completion in 2019. Meanwhile, the Distillery will be welcoming Committee Members and visitors as usual.
We’ll keep you informed as to the comings and goings – we might even have one or two special surprises up our sleeves just for you. After all, without our Committee Members, we might not be here at all. So here’s to the men and women that have built Ardbeg through the years!
P.S. If you’re still reading this, be assured, during the process of not standing still, we’ll not come to a standstill. Our stills will still be making Ardbeg. Still.