The whiskies produced by Brora (on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland) and Port Ellen (on the whisky island Islay) have become well-known for their quality and character over the past 34 years, elevating the distilleries to ‘cult status’.
“For many years whisky fans around the world have called on us to reopen these closed distilleries,” says Diageo.
“The decision is partly a response to those demands from existing enthusiasts; but also reflects the strong growth in the single malt Scotch market and the opportunity to create new generations of whisky consumers.”
The two sites will distil in controlled quantities, replicating the methods of the original distilleries where possible. Each will have the capability to produce 800,000 liters of alcohol a year.
Both sites will also have cask filling and traditional warehousing, as well as dedicated Brand Homes to welcome guests.
Diageo says the £35 ($46m) investment also demonstrates a ‘powerful statement of confidence in the future of Scotch whisky’.
The distilleries are expected to start production by 2020, subject to planning permission and regulatory consents.