Scott lights the way forward


Bruichladdich is committed to making practical changes that will bring about a more sustainable future. One continuing success is the drive to make our electricity usage greener and more efficient. We switched our electricity supply to a green provider last spring, so we’re able to say we’re using only renewable sources. But there are also savings to be made on an everyday operational level; making this happen is the one-man-electric-band Scott Lindsay, our Electrical Maintenance Technician.

An Islay man, who turns 30 on Friday, Scott started working for Bruichladdich 2 years ago. He’d returned to the island with his young family so they can have the best of an island upbringing like he did. Scott’s first big job when he joined the team was in the Mill House – “It’s this hub keeps the whole distillery running”.  As sentimental as we might feel about it, the electrical supply hub in there had been left untouched for fifty plus years, suggesting it might be due an update. New dust extraction ducts and fans were also added, which Scott wired in.

Here are some of the other nifty undertakings Scott has been busy with since he started.

A unique lighting design retains the ambience of Port Charlotte warehouses

Port Charlotte Warehouses

With no major electrical work done in the Port Charlotte warehouses for several decades it took Scott 3 months to complete the updates. The old Loch Indaal distillery warehouses have had 250 watt lights replaced with 9 watt lights, making a massive saving on energy.

It was not merely a case of changing lightbulbs, however. A bespoke lighting design outfit was created by Hubbell to run throughout these Georgian warehouses. Hubbell are a company used to creating lighting designs in safety-critical locations within industries such as oil & gas, military, and petrochemical industries; since 2017 they have been working with the distilling industry. Along with Chalmit and Cable Systems, Hubbell designed a lighting strategy to best benefit the warehouses’ multiple needs. The design incorporates a unique light shade to keep the rustic and dramatic feel of the warehouse, keeping the integrity of the 191 year old buildings and maintaining ambience for visitors on cask visits.

It’s safety first though, Scott says, “It’s erring on the side of caution when it comes to ethanol and electricity. Warehouses and distilleries are generally classed as Zone 2 areas, with that we require ATEX fittings. I wouldn’t want anything to go bang, that’s for sure!”

ATEX (ATmospheres EXplosible) fittings are mandatory in Zone 2 areas and buildings, as stipulated by an EU Directive of 2002, where “A mixture with air of dangerous substances is not likely in normal operation.”  Think petrochemical gases and dust in flour and saw mills. Although the risk is low here, distilleries must adhere to strict regulations in electrics and lighting due to the ethanol vapours.  If enough vapours was to be mixed with air, then all it would need is a source of ignition to cause a ‘bang’.

Scott employed unique methods to age the new woodwork

When the lights had to be fitted to new wooden beams Scottʼs keen attention to detail took over. He not only painted them black but gave them a good roll about in the dirt floors between the stows to encourage the aged look befitting of the old warehouses.

‘We wanted the light to have a warm, authentic quality, but didn’t think this would be possible with the Zone 2 classification’, Scott says, “Chalmit was able to design a bespoke LED fitting that gave us the results we wanted while ensuring everything was completely safe – something that wouldn’t have been possible with fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs. We are committed to finding a more sustainable solution for the lighting in our distillery, and the implementation of LEDs has meant that we’ve been able to massively reduce our power consumption”

Other Warehouses

When it comes to our super modern warehouses at Coultorsay we turned to the expertise of Glasgow based Eco Lighting Systems a company used to providing solutions for hazardous industrial and technical environments. Zone 2 LED lighting has been put throughout the new warehouses. LED lights operate at lower temperatures, are a cost effective long-term investment and are much more energy efficient.

Lights have been recycled and repurposed from warehouse 16 into warehouse 2, where the bulk stock is arranged for bottling. Scott has also been in dry goods warehouse 4, installing energy-efficient sensors for folk or forklifts scooting in. When 4 was used for warehouse tastings last year, a luxury system – by Bruichladdich standards – of TV screen, speakers and a dimmer switch were installed by Scott. And future plans for warehouse 12 are underway to make the set-up even more energy savvy with lights being twice as bright with half the energy use.

Distilling creates an energy usage hotspot – a renewable energy opportunity

Courtyard lighting

Another large undertaking was in the courtyard, heart of the distillery. It’s never been hard to miss the courtyard and its wall of aqua lettering; now it’s looking even better. New lighting installed around the courtyard comes on automatically when it gets dark and switch off again during the day. Another energy saving triumph.


Within a Victorian distillery, retro-fitting new energy solutions isn’t easy. Workarounds have to be found. In 2011, the team designed an ingenious heat recovery system. The hot water from the stills’ condensers goes back to boiler feed tank, which keeps the boiler reservoir at 80-100ºC,  while excess is passed over to the heating system for the visitor centre and offices above. Free heat. The downside being when production shuts down so does the heating.

The Harvey bottling hall and The Botanist drying room are newly heated by air source heat pumps. An “air to air” system, this takes the outside air through a heat exchange and vents into the buildings. The 14kw pump uses much less electricity than conventional heating methods – producing between 3 and 4 kw of heat for every 1 kw it draws. Another will be installed in the workshop refit.

Looking Forward

The distillery is beginning the initial phase of an energy feasibility study with external consultants to look ahead at what unique possibilities there may be within the distillery and the wider community. And with newer projects on the horizon, such as the maltings, this is an exciting opportunity to make the buildings and process as green as possible from the off.


>> If you want to hear more about the future energy plans for the distillery you can catch up with Allan Logan and Christy McFarlane on their Instagram TV chat earlier this year. The pair talk over future renewable possibilities and how a high energy usage hotspot on Islay by distilleries is an Islay-wide energy opportunity.

>> Read more on hydrogen power and Islay’s energy infrastructure future

>> More about our sustainable commitments and future plans.


Thank you to Ashley Harrison for following Scott round the not-so-dark warehouses for the images.

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