Brora gets planning permission, Glenkinchie and Caol Ila present plans for new visitor centers

Diageo is pushing ahead with its investment plans

One year ago, Diageo had announced plans to reopen Brora and Port Ellen. The company will invest £35 million to bring the two distilleries, mothballed in 1983, back into production by 2020. Now planning permission for Brora has been approved and work at the northeast coast of Scotland can begin.

The still house of Brora will be demolished and then reconstructed stone by stone. The old stills have been preserved and will be used again to match the character of the whisky of former times as far as possible. The possible annual production will be 800,000 liters, which will make Brora one of the smaller Diageo distillers. But the Brora project is not about mass but about reviving a distillery that has been stylized into an icon in the whisky scene. Besides producing the whisky here it is plane to fill and store the maturing barrels at the side as well.

For several months already, the old warehouses, which are located here on the old Brora site next to Clynelish, have been undergoing refurbishment. Shingles for shingle, the roofs are removed under large green tarpaulins and covered again.


With Port Ellen distillery on Islay, things are a bit different, because new buildings and new burning equipment will be necessary. The annual production volume will also be 800,000 liters. We haven’t heard yet of a granted planning permission for Port Ellen.

In addition to these two distillery projects, Diageo is currently following its plans to build a Johnnie Walker Visitor Center in Edinburgh and refurbish existing distillery visitor centers. Diageo will invest £150 million in these projects. The focus is on four distilleries whose whiskies are of significant importance to the Johnnie Walker blends. Besides Cardhu and Clynelish, Caol Ila and Glenkinchie will benefit from this money blessing, and the latter two have presented their plans now:

At Caol Ila a new visitor center and a bar overlooking the Sound of Jura is planned in the old white warehouse on the distillery site. A bridge will lead pedestrians from a newly created parking area to the attic of the warehouse.

At Glenkinchie, too, one of the former warehouses (here made of red brick) will be transformed into a modern visitor center with a lounge, bar, shop, tasting rooms and other visitor experiences. Some newer buildings are to be demolished to make way for a spacious redesign of the garden.


Pictures of Brora: Petra Milde
Plans/schemes of Brora, Caol Ila, Glenkinchie: Diageo