Whisky Focus - Brora Distillery Reopens After 38 Years

Brora Distillery Reopens After 38 Years


26th May 2021
After 38 years of silence Brora distillery has reopened and has gone back into production of what was once known as one of the peatiest Highland single malts.

Reopened Brora Distillery gates.

Brora distillery which last produced whisky back in 1983 when it was closed during a downturn in the popularity of whisky has now reopened and has gone back into production.

The peaty single malt produced at Brora, once said to be the peatiest single malt whisky in the Highlands, acquired itself an iconic status amongst whisky drinkers and collectors during its 38 years of silence, so much so and with the continuing growth in popularity of peaty whiskies today, owners Diageo were inspired to invest millions to reopen the distillery, painstakingly restoring the original buildings, which date back almost two centuries to 1819, and bring the site back to life as a working distillery.

More important than the look of the distillery, Diageo's skilled coppersmiths have refurbished the original Brora two classic copper pot stills and going forward the restored distillery will now safeguard a sustainable future for Brora, with the installation of a biomass boiler powered by sustainably sourced wood chips from Northern Scotland.

Brora Still

Ewan Andrew President, Supply & Procurement said: "This is a new dawn for Brora – a distillery that is a beautiful new jewel in the crown of our portfolio in Scotland. I am particularly proud that Brora will be a carbon neutral distillery entirely powered by on-site renewable energy. This marks a major milestone on our journey to invest in Scotland, its rural communities and the future of Scotch whisky."

Brora Master Distiller Stewart Bowman, who is a native to the Sutherland town and whose father was the last exciseman at the distillery, officially marked the launch by opening the Brora wildcat gates and filling the first cask of Brora spirit in more than 38 years.

Stewart said: "In 1983, my father wrote in an old distillery ledger ‘Commencement of Brora Distillery silent season (undetermined period)’. Growing up in the village we often wondered whether Brora would ever return, but today we filled the first cask. It is with great pride that I can now say to my father, the Brora community, and all the ‘old hands’ that worked at Brora and helped to craft a legendary whisky, that the stills are alive and we are making Brora spirit once again."

With a 800,000 litres of spirit each year production capacity Brora is among Diageo's smallest distilleries and I am pleased to say will be welcoming visitors in small numbers on a by-appointment basis, bookable via Brora.com from July. Visits to the distillery will include tastings of rare Brora releases, including a new distillery exclusive bottling only available at Brora’s newly restored home: The Brora Distillery Collection: Hidden Beneath, a Brora 1982 39 Year Old.

Of course it will still be some years before whisky fans will be able to taste any new spirit from Brora but meanwhile if your pockets are deep enough you will find a bottle or two of the highly rated peaty Highland malt whisky which was produced in the old Brora distillery up until 1983 available to buy from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt
 

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