The old Clynelish Distillery, which is being revived (Photo: Highland Council)
The old Clynelish Distillery, which is being revived (Photo: Highland Council)

£35million distillery revival moves a step closer

The famous Brora Distillery which has been sleeping since 1983 has taken another step towards reopening.

Highland Council planners granted permission to the landmark project.

Painstaking work will now begin to restore the original buildings, which date back almost two centuries to 1819, bringing the site back to life as a working distillery.

Originally known as the Clynelish Distillery, production began in Brora Distillery on the north-east coast of Scotland in 1819 with the backing of the Marquess of Stafford. In the late 1960s it was decided to expand production by building a new distillery, with the old distillery eventually being used to supply a need for heavily peated whisky for blending.

Between 1972-74 production of ‘Brora’ was in batches, becoming regular in 1975 when the distillery itself was officially renamed Brora. It was however only produced until 1983, when the distillery was closed.

The old Clynelish Distillery, which is being revived (Photo: Highland Council)

Under the plans, the distillery’s historic stillhouse will be entirely dismantled before being meticulously rebuilt stone-by-stone so that it retains its original character but is structurally capable of once more producing the finest quality spirit.

Stewart Bowman, Brora Distillery project implementation manager, said: ‘This is a key milestone in our journey to bring Brora Distillery back into production.

‘Everyone involved is raring to get going with the work to restore the beautiful distillery buildings so they can once more produce the spirit that Brora is famous for.

‘We will now begin the painstaking work of bringing down and reconstructing the stillhouse with care and attention to detail so that every stone is perfect.’

Diageo are spending around £35million to bring the Brora Distillery back to life (Photo: Highland Council)

Diageo first announced plans to reopen Brora Distillery in October last year, 35 years after it closed its doors, sparking local interest from the community and from whisky lovers around the world.

Earlier this year, the team bringing Brora Distillery back to life invited the local community to be a part of its revival by sharing their memories, stories and artefacts relating to the famous Scotch distillery.

In return, Diageo shared exclusive drawings and plans for the distillery’s construction which, where possible, will replicate the distillation regimes and spirit character of the original distillery.

In October 2017, Diageo announced its £35 million investment in the regeneration of both Brora Distillery, and Port Ellen on Islay which was also closed in 1983. Both distilleries are expected to be in production by 2020.