Two “lost” Scottish distilleries closed more than 30 years ago are to be brought back to life following a £35million investment in the whisky market.
Port Ellen and Brora have lain silent since they were closed in 1983, but their whiskies have become some of the most highly prized and sought after in the world.
But now whisky company Diageo is set to invest £35 million to reopen the closed distilleries.
The “once in a lifetime” investment comes as a response to those demands but is also said to reflect “the strong growth in the single malt Scotch market.”
Port Ellen Distillery on the famous whisky island of Islay, and Brora on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, will now both be reopened.
Cask filling and traditional warehousing will be included on both sites in an attempt to replicate the original distilleries.
It is hoped the distilleries will become iconic attractions in the Scottish tourism landscape — attracting whisky pilgrims from around the globe.
Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach, said: “This is a truly exceptional moment in Scotch whisky.
“Port Ellen and Brora are names which have a uniquely powerful resonance with whisky-lovers around the world and the opportunity to bring these lost distilleries back to life is as rare and special as the spirit for which the distilleries are famous.
“Only a very few people will ever be able to try the original Port Ellen and Brora single malts as they become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled that we will now be able to produce new expressions of these whiskies for new generations of people to enjoy.”
Subject to planning permission and regulatory consents, detailed design, construction and commissioning work, it is expected the distilleries will be in production by 2020.
David Cutter, Diageo President of Global Supply and Procurement, said: “This is no ordinary Scotch whisky distillery investment.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring these iconic distilleries back to life.”
And the move has been welcomed by the Scottish Government.
Responding to the news, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “I welcome this significant investment by Diageo which will help to create employment in these rural and remote communities and is a sign of the strength and popularity of our iconic whisky industry.
“The return of these distilleries will help to act as a catalyst to draw in tourists to see where these iconic brands are produced, and to discover why they are so revered.”