Port Charlotte Distillery was a purpose-built distillery which survived in the 20th century and was formerly known as the Lochindaal distillery. The distillery can be found in the heart of the beautiful Port Charlotte village and was constructed for its first licensee, Colin Campbell, in 1829. After a number of different owners the distillery was closed in 1929. The buildings however survived and are currently in use by a local garage, the Islay youth hostel and field centre. The bonded warehouses on the hill behind the distillery are in use by the Bruichladdich distillery.
At 2 March 2007 Bruichladdich issued a press release with the news of the "Phoenix Distillery" being reopened. A quote from the Ileach Newspaper: Bruichladdich Distillery has officially announced its plans to create a new distillery at Port Charlotte. The distillery will be built, subject to planning permission, on the site of the Lochindaal Distillery that ceased production in 1929. It will be known as the Port Charlotte Distillery, the original name of the 1829 enterprise. Mark Reynier, Bruichladdich CEO says: It's a logical expansion for us. We have a wide distilling repertoire through three peating levels and technique, four barley varieties and eleven origins. This exciting development will allow us to further diversify our distilling talents and add capacity. A small private player such as ourselves has to be different in this industry. Premium distilling by artisans, innovation and variety are key issues for us.
Much of the major plant and equipment for the new Port Charlotte distillery was acquired by Bruichladdich as early as 2003. It was Jim McEwan's idea says Mark Reynier. Dumbarton's Inverleven Distillery was to be demolished, so Jim said: Why not bring it to Islay? Duncan McGillivray put a team of ten men together and dismantled the entire distillery plant bolt by bolt and shipped it to Islay on a barge. It has been in storage ever since, although we have used some bits for spares. We hope to build Port Charlotte as an entirely green distillery with a zero carbon footprint. We will be using all the latest environmentally sustainable concepts and it will be quite an engineering challenge to see if it really is possible. A second planning application will be made shortly for a new building on the Clyne's Garage site that will contain shop, offices and a tasting/ceilidh room. The site will be appropriately landscaped.
Update: from what I've been told the plans for the new distillery have delayed somewhat due to the financial crisis. It is not known to me when construction starts but this page will be updated as soon as more information becomes available.
Update2 Autumn 2012: It is confirmed that Bruichladdich Distillery has planning permission and with the take over by Remy Cointreau there seems to be enough cash available to rebuild the Port Charlotte Distillery. The time planning is 2016.
Update3 Spring 2016: The project seems to be mothballed for now. We'll update this article when there's any news to report.