Seventy two people now work here, on site, at Bruichladdich Distillery, with a further ten in our Glasgow brand office. In addition to our still men and mash men, there are people working in management, warehousing, bottling, administration, design, IT, and communications. The distillery even has its own accommodation and hospitality team running an in-house ‘Academy’ which hosts our guests from around the world. Many more are involved on the island outside the distillery gates including the farmers growing barley for us, hauliers, builders and contractors from umpteen different trades.
It is now fifteen years since we re-opened. It had been thought that the old Victorian buildings would never make spirit again when the gates clanged shut in 1994, but the people of this island pulled together to make this extraordinary story happen.
Right from the beginning, people were always central to the project, and young people in particular. Production director Allan Logan is the fourth generation of his family to have distilled on the world famous whisky island. His father and grandfather were at Laphroaig while his great grandfather was also at Bruichladdich. Allan’s first job back in 2001 was shovelling the years of accumulated muck out of the old buildings and then painting the walls white. Head distiller Adam Hannett, also an Ileach, returned to the island after university and became a tour guide. His remarkable nose and palate soon attracted the attention of the whisky legend Jim McEwan who became his mentor, guiding the young distiller through his first decade along what has become a stellar career path.
The number of young islanders, both graduates and trainees, who are now able to find employment at this remarkable distillery is rising all the time. New owners Remy Cointreau have been very supportive of our principled and independently minded ethos and have instigated a significant investment programme that will ensure the Victorian equipment used in production survives for generations to come.
This weekend, thousands of people from all over the world will gather in the courtyard to celebrate and enjoy a dram as part of ‘Feis Ile’ the island’s annual Festival of Malt and Music. They too are part of this extraordinary success story. Welcome, one and all. Slainte!