The Future of Islay Whisky: New Distilleries on the Horizon

Happy Fèis Ìle! As the Islay Festival unfolds, whisky enthusiasts have much to celebrate about Islay whisky. Our coverage has highlighted the island's rich whisky heritage, and there's even more to look forward to in the coming years.

As of 2024, Islay boasts nine operational distilleries, with Ardnahoe being the latest addition, opened by Hunter Laing in 2019. Recently, the legendary Port Ellen has resumed distilling, bringing the total to ten active distilleries. But the whisky journey on Islay doesn't stop there. Here are three exciting new distilleries set to open, increasing Islay's distillery count to thirteen.


Portintruan, pronounced ‘Port-nah-truan,’ is situated outside Port Ellen on Islay’s south coast. Named after the historic farm estate where it’s located, meaning ‘place of the stream,’ the distillery broke ground at the end of 2020. Led by distillery manager Georgie Crawford, it’s expected to begin distillation this year (2024).

This Elixir Distillers project promises a blend of traditional production techniques and modern technology, with a strong focus on sustainability. Collaborations with Islay Energy Trust and other local entities aim to achieve a greener process. Additionally, an experimental distillery within the site will enable the production of various Scotch whisky styles and rum.

The distillery complex will include 14 houses for distillery workers, a visitor’s center, a bar and restaurant, a tasting room with sea views, and a multi-purpose educational facility for training future distillers.

Laggan Bay

Laggan Bay Distillery is set to become Islay’s 12th distillery, with completion expected in 2025. The first spirit is anticipated to flow from its handmade copper pot stills by then, with a new Islay single malt projected to be available by the end of the decade.

This distillery is a partnership between Ian Macleod Distillers, known for brands like Glengoyne and Tamdhu, and The Islay Boys, who have recently completed a brewery adjacent to the distillery site at Glenegedale. Sustainability is a core focus, with plans to use renewable energy sources in collaboration with the Islay Energy Trust and Scottish Power. Laggan Bay will also feature wetlands to manage liquid waste and support local wildlife.

Details about the distillery will be unveiled later this year, and visitors to Fèis Ìle 2024 can explore the plans and the nearly completed Warehouse 1 at Islay Ales Co Ltd., opposite the distillery site.

Chivas Brothers Project

Chivas Brothers, part of French drinks giant Pernod Ricard and known for brands like Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal, is venturing into Islay with a new distillery at Gartbreck Farm, west of Bowmore at Saltpan Point on the shore of Loch Indaal. This will be Chivas’ first production facility on Islay.

Announced in October 2023, this development aims to produce a distinctly smoky and peated Islay single malt. Chivas Brothers' chairman and CEO, Jean-Etienne Gourgues, emphasized the project’s significance in creating a carbon-neutral distillery from scratch. The new distillery will reflect Chivas' commitment to Scotch whisky, the Islay community, and sustainable distilling practices.

The Excitement of Islay's Whisky Future

Islay's whisky scene is set to expand and diversify with these new distilleries, each bringing its unique approach and innovations to the island’s rich whisky heritage. Whether through sustainable practices, experimental productions, or introducing new brands to Islay’s portfolio, the future of Islay whisky looks promising and exciting.

Stay tuned for more updates and coverage on these developments as we continue to explore the dynamic world of Islay whisky. Cheers to the future of whisky on this iconic island!