Diageo to Breathe New Life into Dormant Scottish Distilleries

Drinks giant Diageo has announced that it will be reviving two of its Scottish whisky distilleries that have been dormant for over three decades.

Diageo has outlined plans to get Brora in the north east of Scotland and Port Ellen on Islay in the Hebrides up and running by 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The namesake single malts from both these now defunct distilleries have not been completely absent from the market since their closure in 1983. Since 2001 the annual Diageo Special Releases initiative has often featured bottles of both Brora and Port Ellen as part of its ten strong range of rare and limited edition whiskies. The September 2017 Diageo Special Releases series feature Port Ellen 37 Year which has just 2,988 bottles globally and the Brora 34 Year with just 3,000 bottles.

Ellen Rivers, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The exclusivity of acquiring a bottle of single malt from these dormant distilleries has created a strong allure for the serious whisky collector and connoisseur. The reawakening of the two distilleries will bring these much loved single malts back into the reach of the average whisky drinker, who at present would find it hard to justify the four figure price tag that Brora and Port Ellen are currently on offer for.”

That’s not to say that the re-opening of these famed distilleries will mean that supermarket shelves will be flooded with these single malts, production is set to be around 800,000 liters a year. This may serve to alleviate any fears that the current stock of aged Port Ellen and Brora will be devalued by the relaunch. After all a one or two year old whisky will never hold the same draw as the vintage single malt that will be four decades old by the time Port Ellen is back up and running.

Rivers adds: “Diageo hope that the revival of these distilleries will open up the traditions of Scottish single malt whisky to a new generation of drinkers.”

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