Ardbeg Distillery

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Pronunciation ard’beg
Translation Small Headland
Region Islay
Distiller Glenmorangie plc
Owner Glenmorangie plc (LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton)
Address Port Ellen
Isle of Islay
PA42 7EA
Telephone +44 (0)1496 - 30 22 44
+44 (0)1496 - 30 20 40 (Fax)
LatLong 55° 38’ 25.6” N   06° 06’ 32.0” W
Altitude 1 m
Grid Reference NR415461
Open to public January - May : mo - fr 10:00 - 16:00 (tours at 10:30 and 15:00)
June - August : mo - su 10:00 - 17:00 (tours at 10:30, 12:00, 13:30 and 15:00)
September - December : mo - fr 10:00 - 16:00 (tours at 10:30 and 15:00)
Closed during the Christmas holiday period
Old Kiln Café open all year mo - fr 10:00 - 16:00 (June to August open 7 days)Source : Islay & Jura Distillery Tour Times 2008 leaflet

First record of a Distillery at Ardbeg, founded by Alexander Stewart who went bankrupt
Said to have been revived by John MacDougall. The MacDougall family was there from 1798 through Duncan MacDougall, father of John
First recorded as working
John McDougall & Co. dissolved
John McDougall
Production was about 500 gallons (2,270 litres) a year
John & Alexander (son of John) McDougall
Alexander McDougall & Co. when incorporated as a limited company
Alexander MacDougall dies, and the Distillery is run by his sisters Margaret and Flora. They were assisted by Colin Elliot Hay, who took over the license when the sisters died
Colin Elliot Hay and Alexander Wilson renewed the license
Colin Elliot Hay's son took over the license
Liquidated when Ardbeg Distillery Ltd. formed
Stills became steamheated
by 1973
The Ardbeg Distillery Trust, owned by the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL) and Hiram Walker & Sons (Scotland) Ltd. (Hiram Walker-Gooderham & Sons (Scotland) Ltd., Canada), bought the Distillery for £300,000
Last years maltings were working (also early 1980s are mentioned)
Taken over by Hiram Walker from the MacDougall family. Two stills, floor malting
Kildalton, the unpeated version of Ardbeg, is produced over a number of years
Distillery mothballed
Hiram Walker was taken over by Allied Lyons plc
Bought by Allied Distillers and re-opened. Iain Henderson became Distillery Manager. All malt was produced by the Port Ellen Maltings. Production was a third of its capacity. Only about 200 cases were produced each year
Distillery closed
Autumn 1996
Distillery was put up for sale by Allied Distillers
Distillery bought by Glenmorangie plc for £7 million (£5.5 million for the whisky in storage) and rebuilt spending over £1.4 million
Distillery opened again
Visitor centre opened in two of the three old kilns
The ’Ardbeg Committee’ is established
Glenmorangie plc sold to Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH)

Technical Specifications
General Water Source
for production and cooling from Loch Uigeadail (meaning Dark and Mysterious Place, pronounced as Oo-ga-daal) via Loch Iarnan
  Annual Output 950,000 litres of alcohol (2005)
  Finished Spirit (phenols) average 23 - 24 ppm (from May 1998); 16 - 17 ppm p
  Blending Roles
Ballantine’s, Teacher’s, Black Bottle
Malt Malt Source Port Ellen
  Malt Type Optic
  Malt Specification (phenols) average 54 ppm
  Own Malting Floor no
  Malt Storage 70 tonnes
Mill Boby, installed 1881
  Grist Storage 5 tonnes
Mashing Mash Tun 1 stainless steel, semi-Lauter
  Mash Size 4.5 tonnes
  First Water 17,000 litres at 64°C
  Second Water 8,000 litres at 82°C
  Third Water 17,500 litres at 90°C
  Fourth Water n/a
Fermentation Washbacks 6 made of Oregon Pine
  Washback Charge 23,500 litres
  Yeast Mauri cultured yeast
  Amount of Yeast 75 kg per washback
  Length of Fermentation 65 - 68 hours (shorts, week)
96 hours (longs,
  Initial Fermentation Temp. 20°C (16°C on Fridays)
  Strength of Wash 8% abv
Distillation Wash Stills 1, lamp glass, 18,279 litres
  Wash Still Built 1974
  Wash Still Charge 11,700 litres (64% of capacity)
  Heat Source steam coil with heating pans
  Wash Still Height 12 feet 3 inches (3.73 m)
  Lyne Arm very gently rising
  Low Wines Run around 5 hours
  Low Wines Collection Range 46% abv - 1% abv
  Spirit Stills
1, lamp glass, 16,957 litres, fitted with a purifier
  Spirit Still Built 2001
  Spirit Still Charge 13,660 litres (81% of capacity)
  Strength of Spirit Still Charge 25% abv
  Heat Source steam coil with heating pans
  Spirit Still Height 12 feet (3.66 m)
  Lyne Arm gently rising
  Coolers 2 condensers, outside still house, containing 238 tubes
  Foreshot Run around 10 minutes
  Spirit Run around 5 hours 15 minutes
  Feints Run around 3 hours 30 minutes
  Spirit Cut 73% abv - 62.5% abv
  Distilling Strength 69.5% abv - 70.5% abv
Storage Storage Strength 63.5% abv
  Average Spirit Yield 402.1 litres of alcohol per tonne of malt (2003)
  Disposal of Pot Ale/Spent Lees to local contractors for spreading on farmland
  Type of Casks 50% first-fill bourbon (chiefly ex-Jack Daniels, air-dried wood, barrels rather than hogsheads)
50% second-fill bourbon (same origins)
very little sherry
further finishes and experiments in hand
  Warehouses 5 (3, 9 and 10 dunnage, 10 and 11 racked)
  Vatting and Bottling Location Broxburn


Distillery Manager
Iain Henderson (1989-....)
Stuart Thomson (1997-September 2006)
Visitor Centre Manager
Jackie Thomson (1997-September 2006)

Sources used