The Whisky World is standing still? No way!
There' s a lot going on in the World of Whisky
In a way, the last six months have passed in a flash. Due to the unique situation and the restrictions on contact and curfew, people spent a lot of time at home and 'among themselves'. Many also worked or still work from home, which reinforces this feeling. Most of the Whisky.com employees were also at home for a long time. You meet fewer people, you go out less, you get the feeling that nothing is happening - at the same time you're flooded with news about current developments every day, which gives you the feeling that quite a lot is happening.
The reason is probably the fact that for months one topic has been prevalent in the global discourse, which dominated everything in the first half of 2020. There seemed to be little room for other topics, some of them even felt as if they had been forgotten for a while. The world held its breath. But the Whisky World has not stood still for the past few months! New distilleries and visitor centres are being planned or under construction, new bottlings have come and are coming onto the market - in Scotland and around the world.
The Campbeltown Distillery Glen Scotia, for example, did not allow contact restrictions to stop them and organised the Campbeltown Malts Festival online: They sold stes of miniatures containing selected Glen Scotia cask samples, together with access data for an exclusive online dunnage tasting. The Irish Waterford distillery released its 'Inaugural Release', its first Whisky, in April. For the Irish Single Farm Origins, only barley from a single farm is used per Whisky. And something is happening in Germany, too: The distillery Hammerschmiede in the Harz Mountains released the first Distillery Edition of its brand Elsburn in May. Batch #1 matured in 100% Sherry Casks and is a lush, fruity, spicy and elegant Single Malt. Speyside Distillery Glen Grant is celebrating its 180th birthday this year with the release of its anniversary bottling Arborais, 'the light from within the trees' - a cause for a celebration!
Apart from the release of new bottlings, there is much more going on in the distilleries of the world. In January the construction work on the new Port Ellen distillery began, which will be rebuilt and produce new Whisky. Since 1978, the distillery has been closed and in the long meantime it has served as a large-scale malt house for other Islay distilleries. But now the distillery will produce its own Port Ellen Malt again. Elixir Distillers is planning to build another Islay distillery. The company already distributes the Islay Single Malt Port Askaig. Now they want to contribute to the island community of Islay with their own distillery. Building permits are rainig down: On the Scottish mainland, Highland distillery Moffat received a building permit in January. The distillery will be built in the village of the same name near the Lowland Distillery Annandale. The future northernmost Whisky distillery on the Scottish mainland in John O'Groats also received its building permit in March. The independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail is eagerly awaiting the ground-breaking ceremony for its planned Speyside distillery in Craggan. Originally, the first spirit was supposed to flow through the stills at the end of 2020, but Covid-19 scotched the venture and now the construction start of the Craggan Distillery is being delayed. Further southwest, Llandudno distillery in Wales received its building permit in May. The second distillery of Penderyn will be built near the town of the same name on the north coast of Wales. Speaking of waterfront distilleries: Glen Luss Distillery is currently being built on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland. With the help of its Founder's Club, it has raised three million pounds to finance the construction project.
In the USA, Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co is also taking a lot of money in hand to build a distillery worth 5.4 million US dollars in Lexington, Kentucky. The company already published the plans for this in February. A few miles further east, in Frankfort, Kentucky, Buffalo Trace Distillery invested more than a billion dollars in expansions earlier this year. These will include a total of 22 warehouses, its own corn fields and the modernization of the distillery facilities. The English Lakes Distillery received a proud loan of 4.25 million euros at the beginning of the year to expand its distillery with a visitor center and additional washbacks so that production can run around the clock in future. Speaking of visitor centres: Work on the great Johnnie Walker Experience has been continuing since this month. The Edinburgh Visitor Centre is part of a £150 million investment programme by Diageo, which includes the rebuilding and modernisation of the Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish Visitor Centres, as well as the new construction of the distilleries Brora in the Highlands and - as mentioned before - Port Ellen on Islay.
You see: In the Whisky World, a lot has happened in the last six months, despite the global restrictive situation. Whether in Scotland, the USA or Europe, Whisky is constantly bringing exciting innovations and even if the world seemed to stand still at times: the Whisky World is anything but standing still!