Islay’s ili whisky distillery plan lodged

A planning application for a new whisky distillery on Islay has been submitted, with the aspiration that it will be carbon neutral in its operation.

The distillery, brainchild of islanders Scott McLellan and Bertram Nesselrode, seeks to provide a long-term and sustainable future for the existing farm operation, whilst creating “a distillery of the highest quality that will be a credit to Islay, enhance tourism, generate employment and wider economic opportunities”.

The proposed distillery will have a target capacity of 200,000 litres per annum, highlighting the “smaller, more bespoke approach being taken”.

Under the brand ili, a name based on the oldest form of Islay and with a brand identity based on the standing stones which dot the island’s landscape, the plans would represent a substantial investment in the local area.

It would also bringing a number of skilled permanent jobs and apprenticeships, in addition to the investment and jobs brought about in the construction phase, it is claimed.


Once opened and in operation, it is anticipated that the distillery would welcome an additional 2,000 visitors annually to Islay, with £1.2m GVA added to the island’s economy.

It is also predicated that the distillery would create 23 jobs, including apprenticeships, providing opportunities for young people on Islay and helping tackle the important issue of rural depopulation affecting many of the Hebridean islands.

Bertram Nesselrode said: “We’re really excited to be bringing forward these proposals to create a bold, new, sustainable distillery on Islay. The island has a rich heritage of whisky production, and ili would mark a milestone in this heritage – respecting Islay’s legacy while representing something innovative and contemporary.  

“We believe that Gearach Farm, with its rugged landscape, loch, and working traditions would be the ideal place to make this new venture, and importantly we want to ensure that the whole of the island can benefit, through inward investment and job opportunities, along with our community benefit fund.”

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Dentons, the world’s largest law firm which operates in more than 75 countries, has signed a 15-year lease to occupy the first floor at 1 Haymarket Square.

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