Islay's Bruichladdich Distillery To Add On Site Malting To Its Operations - The Whiskey Wash

Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery To Add On Site Malting To Its Operations

By Katelyn Best / April 25, 2019

Bruichladdich Distillery, the Islay distiller known for the super-peated Octomore line of single malts, is digging deeper roots in its local community, recently announcing plans to build an on-site maltings facility in an effort to keep more of the production process local.

Currently, the distillery ships its barley—42% of which is grown locally—to Inverness for malting. Malting is the only step of the whisky production process that is not done onsite at Bruichladdich; the planned malthouse provides “the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle” when it comes to local production.

Bruichladdich (image via Bruichladdich)

Building that final piece, planned for completion by 2023, means a few things. First, it shrinks the distillery’s carbon footprint, something the distillery plans to push even further in exploring the feasibility of installing tidal, wind, and biomass energy onsite. Second, it would create more jobs at a company that already employs 80 people in tiny Islay. Finally, it gives the self-proclaimed “Progressive Hebridean Distillers” additional flexibility in experimenting with whisky.

“Running a business on an island makes us distinctly aware that our social, economic, and environmental impact must be a positive one,” said CEO Douglas Taylor in a prepared statement. “We feel strongly about our responsibility to the island and the people of Islay.” The increased localization of the production process is one of many steps the company has taken toward sustainability in recent years, which also include introducing electric vehicles and putting together habitat protection agreements with barley growers.

As to the experimentation piece, the distillers also plan to continue exploring local barley production, including experimenting with varieties not typically grown in Scotland. According to the distillery, most varieties of barley are developed on Scotland’s east coast, which is drier and less exposed than the Hebrides, meaning there’s room for experimentation with the suitability of other varieties to that area of the country.