Independent Scottish whisky company takes on big brands

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Related tags: Scotch whisky

An independent Scottish company is returning the art of whisky making to its traditional roots by reopening the Bruichladdich Distillery on the...

An independent Scottish company is returning the art of whisky making to its traditional roots by reopening the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Hebridean Island of Islay after nearly a decade of inactivity.

A four-man collective has invested £6.5m into the 120-year-old distillery having become disillusioned with mainstream whisky brands which they believe have become too commercial and standardised.

Mark Reynier, chief executive of the new company, said: "Whisky is going the same way as the beer market, with a small number of companies calling the shots and producing neutered whiskies that are made by extracting as many litres per tonne of barley as possible.

"I suppose we are to whisky what real ale is to lager and our aim is to produce the finest whisky we can. The only way to do that is not to do anything to it whatsoever."

Campbell Evans of the Scotch Whisky Association dismissed Mr Reynier's claims as a PR stunt, adding: "Whisky is the best selling spirit in the world and consumers in 200 countries can't be wrong. Companies have been extending their lines and giving the consumer even more choice and clearly that is succeeding around the world.

"If people want to try Bruichladdich they are perfectly free to do so, but I'm not sure whether it's a suitable introduction to whisky for most people."

Having recently bought the site from Jim Beam Brands, the American whisky producer, Mr Reynier recruited local craftsmen to restore the site and has vowed to use the same machinery and methods dating back 120 years.

"We're going back to original whisky production and we will be the only independent distillery on the island. The whisky will be sold solely as a pure malt whisky and there will be no chill-filtering, no colouring and Bruichladdich will be the only distillery to use Islay water."

While two single malt whiskies, Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte - a heavy peaty whisky - will not be available for at least eight years the company will be releasing older Bruichladdich variations having purchased 1.4m litres of alcohol dating back to 1964.

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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