Ardbeg Distillery


This iconic 200-year-old distillery was run by the McDougall family until 1959, then became Ardbeg Distillery Ltd. A takeover by Allied Distillers Ltd. followed in the 1970s. After closure from 1981-89 and temporary reopening for two months a year, it was reopened for good in 1997 by new owners the Glenmorangie Plc. It’s currently owned (from 2004) by the Moet Hennessy company. 

The distillery produces one of the peatiest whiskies on the island. The predominant aromas are of spices, malt or sweet tones like vanilla and chocolates, rather than sea and salt tastes.

It’s won prestigious titles including World Whisky of the Year, Scotch Whisky of the Year and World’s Best Single Malt.

The output volume of around one million litres per year was impressive considering there were only two pot stills and space was cramped. Today, Ardbeg buys malt with a high peat smoke content from the Port Ellen Maltings. The new still house in 2021 (with two wash and two spirit stills) should increase production volume to 2.4 million litres. The stills are designed to filter out the sharp and alcoholic tones that are tasted in cheap spirits.

Bourbon casks are usually found in the warehouses, but sherry casks sweeten some of their bottlings, such as the Uigeadail or the famous Lord of the Isles.

Visitors will find an added bonus, the Old Kiln Café, where excellent lunches can be enjoyed, including a taste of the end product.


Visitor centre and shop is open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm until to the end of April 2024. From May to October 2024 it will be open seven days a week 9.30am-5.30pm. Please note: the distillery will completely close on Sunday, June 2 and Thursday, August 8, and that there are no tours between June 17 and July 8 as production ceases for essential maintenance.

Classic tours, pop-up tasting flights and great merchandise

Choose from a wide range of experiences – there’s something for everyone – classic production tours, Rocktails, DIY tastings, the Quintissential Ardbeg tour, Stillhouse and Warehouse 3 tasting and the Wednesday Whisky Walkabout (Wednesdays only!). Learn more here.

The Old Kiln Café at Ardbeg is open indoors in winter and spring with morning coffees and cakes 10am-12pm and great home-cooked lunches 12pm-3.30pm. In summer food and drink, lunches, lightbites and snacks are available at the Ardstream trailer in the courtyard. For more information email the distillery or call 01496 302244.

Updated March 26, 2024.