Bottling on Islay

This month sees a hiatus in production at the distillery while the equipment receives some attention, but it is business as usual for our bottling hall and export teams.

We bottle our whisky and gin in all sizes for all markets in the Harvey Hall in the distillery courtyard on Islay. We're heavily committed to employing local people and using only Islay spring water in the bottling process, but before any finished spirits can leave the island for onward transit around the globe, we need various supplies.

In fact, we have a legacy of 12,000 individual part-numbers in our current system - glass, corks, cardboard, tins, sealing capsules, labels - all needing to be ordered, delivered, stored and coordinated by Jan and team in the Bottling Hall office.

Claire and John packing wee laddies

With many of the suppliers we have long relationships, even dating back to the beginning of the new Bruichladdich in 2001. Our bottles are premium white flint glass, which is then coated with organic inks to create our colour-coated bottles such as The Classic Laddie. Interestingly, the difference in sizes required by the legal standards of different territories can be as little as 50ml; sometimes this can be made up from subtle changes to the glass, allowing other packaging specifications to be the same.   

The custom carboard cases and dividers come from the mainland. Proofs for these are created to the designs provided by our graphics and IT team on Islay, situated above the Laddieshop. The plates for labels and tins are also manufactured in the UK, to the team's design. 

Chrissie Angus, export manager, overseeing unloading

Dispatches are managed by Chrissie Angus and her team, pictured above overseeing unloading. At the very beginning of Bruichladdich's resurrection she managed a skeleton Laddieshop, up the stairs adjacent to the stillhouse. She now prepares all the paperwork for the manifests, and co-ordinates with the hauliers and ferry timetables to send out loads three or four times a week. Holder of Level 5 Certificates in Port and Shipping Management and International Supply Chain Management, "I just love my lorries," she says.  

"It's vitally important that we're able to bottle our spirits on site at Bruichladdich, despite the logistical challenges it brings," says Bottling Hall Manager, Jonathan Carmichael. "A big part of our philosophy is people and terroir, right through the process - from distilling to final maturation after a number of years - we've had an influence on our spirits. I believe that employing local people to put our products into bottles is the final act of this process, so it just seems wrong to have it done elsewhere."

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