The population of the Isle of Arran is around 5,000. The number of visitors to the Isle of Arran Distillery center at Lochranza far exceeded that with more than 104,000 visitors in 2016. Last year’s visitors to the distillery that took the journey to find ‘the Arran Waters’ were up 18% over 2015 and a whopping 93% since 2012.
Euan Mitchell, managing director of Isle of Arran Distillery, said: “The visitor center has always been core to the distillery. As the first distillery in over 150 years to operate on an island once scattered with illegal stills, we understand and celebrate our place in Arran’s whisky making history. These visitor numbers are a reflection of our success in translating this heritage into a world-class visitor experience.”
Renovation and Addition of 4 New Stills
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Lochranza recently reopened after a £1 million investment into renovations to both the visitor center and distillery including the replacement of two original stills and two additional stills.
The four brand new stills and a new spirit safe will support the production of 1.2 million liters of alcohol, up from a previous 750 liters.
In the visitor center, a complete re-design of the reception area includes a modern water feature to replace the original waterfall and a new interactive wall display. The old spirit safe, which was removed during the upgrade of distillery equipment, is exhibited in the main entrance.
A new tasting bar accommodates larger groups of visitors and provides extra space for the increasingly popular tours. Lochranza was recently received an Award of Excellence from the Irish coach tour operator, CIE Tours based on customer feedback.
Isle of Arran Distillery Master Distiller James MacTaggart said: “After our 21st anniversary celebrations last year, it was important to us to look to the future. Our stills had served us well, though, with demand for our whisky constantly growing, we needed to increase capacity. The new stills and, crucially, spirit safe, will allow us to sustain production of our core range and give me the chance to create more of our much-loved limited edition bottlings.”
Visitors Expected to Exceed 200,000 by 2,020
The distillery is also making a large investment in the south of the island with a new distillery site and visitor center at Lagg. Total visitor numbers to both sites are expected to exceed 200,000 by 2020 once the new visitor center in Lagg has been opened with an estimated combined turnover of over £2million.
MacTaggart added: “With the new distillery at Lagg, and continued investment at Lochranza, we intend to uphold the rich heritage of whisky making on Arran as we increase production of the Arran Malt.”