Scotland’s greenest distillery is celebrating a triple win as it enjoys a surge in visitor numbers on the back of two national awards just weeks before its third birthday.
Ardnamurchan Distillery on Scotland’s west coast says it has enjoyed a dramatic increase in visitors from all over the world and is predicting further significant growth over the summer months ahead, with surrounding businesses also benefiting from the uplift. Numbers are already 20% up on last year.
Local hotelier Jonathan Peill of The Salen Hotel said he had welcomed a new wave of visitors, adding: “We have looked after several overseas groups this year, especially from Germany and the Netherlands, en route to the distillery, and have been fully booked for accommodation since Easter.”
The distillery has become a popular tourism attraction since it opened in 2013, with visitors praising the distillery visitor centre and its tours on the review site Trip Advisor, and in comments left in the visitor book:
“Fantastic tour, and a very impressive distillery! I’ll enjoy my bottle of AD 2016” I.S, Scotland
“A nice surprise. Best of luck to your venture” D.S, NSW, Australia
“We had a wonderful tour and delicious tasting” C.S, Germany
Distillery Manager, Fraser Hughes, said: “We’ve been steady since we opened, but the team here have really noticed a difference in the past couple of months or so.
“We get visitors from all over, some who are just passing, but for other folk, from Europe, the States, the Far East, and even Australia and New Zealand, they’ve travelled thousands of miles to come here. You can see the excitement in their eyes. It’s a brilliant thing to be a part of, and to be able to welcome these whisky pilgrims is a great privilege, and it’s always a pleasure to share a story with them after the tour’s done.”
On top of the rise in numbers keen to see one of Scotland’s newest distilleries, already a local landmark, the distillery had further cause to celebrate last month as its first spirit release, The Ardnamurchan Spirit 2016 AD, won the Packaging award at The Scottish Design Awards.
The eye-catching bottle was designed by Edinburgh-based agency, Nevis Design. The ash/moine (slate grey) colour was selected to reflect the volcanic past of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, with the addition of a hydrometer-shaped window to highlight the natural colour of the one-year-old spirit, very dark for its young age. Copper lettering is also visible on the bottle, tracing the spirit’s provenance, from barley to bottle.
The design award came just over a week after the distillery’s parent company, renowned independent bottler Adelphi Distillery Ltd, scooped the ‘Success Through Partnership Award’ at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards, in recognition of its collaboration with partners Fusion Whisky Ltd. The award was an acknowledgement of the collaborative work that has led to the creation of two acclaimed premium whisky brands: The Glover, a blend of Scotch and rare Japanese malt whisky, and The Kincardine, made with Scotch and Indian malt whisky.
Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers, said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry has become a real success story in recent years. That success has been built on having world-class products with great provenance and by embracing a spirit of collaboration. However, it also about a broader impact, not least being champions of environmental sustainability. Ardmamurchan Distillery encapsulates all of this and their recent award wins are testament to that.”
Situated on the idyllic and rugged shores of Loch Sunart, the distillery is powered and heated by locally sourced hydro-electricity and woodchip and entirely self-sufficient.
The distillery’s green credentials have also featured in a recent series of short films made by US broadcaster CNN. The “Great by Design” programme featured Adelphi’s Managing Director Alex Bruce who highlighted the importance of sustainability in the whisky industry.
He said: “We often talk of the essential part that water and wood plays in the making of a great whisky but, in our case, it is not just for production and maturation, but also for power and heat.”