“It was Jim’s idea,” says Mark Reynier, CEO of Bruichladdich. Mark is referring to the initiative to resurrect the distillery in Port Charlotte. With the closure of the Inverleven Distillery in 2003, Master Distiller Jim McEwan saw an opportunity to purchase the existing equipment before demolition. A team led by Bruichladdich’s General Manager, Duncan McGillivray, ventured to Dumbarton and dismantled the distillation equipment, bolt-by-bolt, and shipped it by barge back to Islay.
Though plans to put Islay’s ninth distillery into production have unfortunately met with delay, for all intents and purposes, this project is still a ‘go’.
For those not in the know, Port Charlotte is destined to be Islay’s next destillery. Pieces are coming together, and it is only a matter of time until whisky flows from the stills in the village of Port Charlotte. From 1829 through 1929 the Lochindaal Distillery produced a peated malt whose resonance lingered long enough to lead to Bruichladdich’s plans of renaissance. The buildings in Port Charlotte are still in tact from a time when the heavy hand of prohibition led to the Lochindaal Distillery being mothballed, however the last known bottling from this distillery was opened and drunk in 1963.