Islay, famous around the world for its peaty whiskies, is to get another distillery.
French-owned Chivas Brothers aims to open its first production plant on the Hebridean island.
The company has not yet set a date for it, or chosen a name.
But it revealed the new distillery will be located “on the picturesque site” of Gartbreck Farm, west of Bowmore at Saltpan Point on the shore of Loch Indaal.
From there, it will “enjoy stunning views facing Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte across the loch”.
Chivas, part of international drink giant Pernod Ricard, added: “Its production will focus on Islay single malt, celebrating the region’s distinctly smoky and peated profile.
“The land purchase signals Chivas Brothers’ long-term intent to become part of the fabric of Islay, as it has been for decades through Speyside and the surrounds.”
Jean-Etienne Gourgues, chairman and chief executive at the Glasgow-based company, said: “This is an important new chapter in the Chivas Brothers story. The introduction of an Islay whisky completes our comprehensive and award-winning Scotch portfolio.
On Islay, we can create a blueprint for carbon neutral distilling.”
“As a business built on hundreds of years of heritage, it also gives us the opportunity to do something we rarely do, which is to start from scratch. ”
Mr Gourges explained: “On Islay, we can create a blueprint for carbon neutral distilling and continue to usher in this era of sustainable Scotch. We are committed to Scotch, to the Islay community and the landscape that makes it the perfect place to continue our vision to shape the future of whisky.”
Chivas aims to be carbon neutral in distillation across all of its sites by the end of 2026.
Its new Islay facility, as with any future new-build distillery by the company, will be “carbon neutral in distillation from inception“. Full plans “will be revealed in due course”.
Chivas’ existing whisky portfolio includes The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s. The company employs about 1,800 people and exports to 150 markets globally.
Sharing is caring
Earlier this year the firm revealed it was sharing the secrets of its carbon-cutting successes with rivals to help the whole Scotch whisky industry reach net-zero goals.
“Expertise and learnings” from enhanced heat recovery methods used at Chivas distilleries are now “open source”, the term used for technology which is shared.
Energy Minister Gillian Martin hailed the move as a potential “game changer” for Scotland’s national drink.
More recently, Chivas pledged to invest more than £60 million in heat recovery technologies and the installation of electric boilers across “viable” distilleries as part of an “ambitious” target of carbon neutral distillation by 2026. It will also invest in “strategic inventory management” to meet demand for its whiskies around the world.