The Armin Grewe Homepage
Islay has a very long tradition in distilling whisky, most of the distilleries are well over 100 years old. Several of the current distilleries have been closed for a period and later reopened, most of them also changed ownership over the years and are now in the hands of large multinational companies. This page focuses on the most recently reopened distillery Bruichladdich and Islay's first new distillery for a long time, Kilchoman:
Picture of Bruichladdich distillery with the name painted on whisky casks Bruichladdich Distillery was last closed down in 1994 as "surplus to requirements". But in 2000 it was purchased by a group of private investors around Managing Director Mark Reynier and reopened in May 2001 with Master Distiller Jim McEwan as Production Director.

Bruichladdich was built by the brothers Robert William and John Harvey on an ideal location on the shore of Loch Indaal and was until recently Islay's (and Scotland's) most westerly distillery (this title now belongs to Kilchoman, see below). Compared to other Islay single malts Bruichladdich is only lightly peated.

Before the distillery reopened a lot of work had to be completed to restore the original equipment to its former glory and further work has been completed since then.

Picture of a hall without a roof Picture of a spirit safe in a distillery
The pictures above are from July 2001, soon after the distillery reopened. The view over the yard shows a hall or warehouse without a roof. This has since changed, as the picture below left from April 2003 shows: The building now has a roof and houses the bottling plant for Bruichladdich.

Being a fairly small company Bruichladdich constantly has to innovate and bring new ideas, one nice idea you can see below right: Visitor can fill their own bottle using what is called the Valinch. That's the author of these pages giving himself a birthday present by filling a bottle of Bruichladdich single malt.

Picture of people working in a bottling facility Picture of Armin filling a bottle with the Valinch

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Picture of distillery buildings with the Kilchoman sign Kilchoman Distillery on Islay's west coast is the latest addition to Islay's impressive collection of distilleries.

The distillery is the first new distillery on Islay for 124 years, rejuvenating the old tradition of a farmhouse distillery, which were pretty much eradicated by the 1801 Excise Act. All the barley will be grown on Mark French's Rockside Farm, which is also home to the distillery. Work started in 2002 and was finished in 2005, with the first spirit being distilled in November 2005.

The distillery also boasts a visitor centre with nice restaurant for lunches and other refreshments as well as a shop and information about the whisky making process. Next to the visitor centre is also a small shop selling various products of Islay Fine Foods and other local producers.

Picture of a malt floor und construction Picture of a visitor centre

During a visit to Kilchoman in August 2005 I had the opportunity of a tour around the still under construction distillery. Below a panoramic impression of the still house, in the background Malcolm Rennie, the Working Distillery Manage who guided us around, and Ian Brooke of neighbouring Kilchoman Cottages.

Picture of stills and spirit safe at a distillery