Bruichladdich Distillery was built in 1881 by the brothers Robert William and John Gourlay Harvey in an idyllic spot on the shore of Loch Indaal. At the time, the distillery was state-of-the-art and today the equipment continues to be used unchanged. Unlike other distilleries, which were often built from old farm houses, the buildings were erected specifically for this purpose. It was built from stone from the seashore and has a very efficient layout. The distillery changed owners and was temporarily out of use from 1929 to 1937. In the early days barley was shipped to the pier at Bruichladdich, and then transferred to the distillery by horse and cart and off-loaded to the Barley loft by tying the sacks to a rope which was looped through a pulley block, and the other end attached to a horse which when moved forward, pulled the sack up to the level of the loft opening.
The distillery closed again in 1994, but was purchased by a group of private investors led by Mark Reynier on 19 December 2000. Jim McEwan, who had worked at Bowmore Distillery, was hired as Production Director. The Victorian decór was mostly preserved. The machines, roasting ovens, and piping were completely removed and renovated by a team of engineers (local crofters,who also work in the distillery). In the entire distillery, not a single computer is used (apart from the ones in the offices and the webcams and such). It is, you might say, a museum of a distillery that is still in operation. There is some modern controversy surrounding the distillery's advertised pronunciation of the name. They suggest brook-laddie, which incorporates a common mispronunciation of the Gaelic ch element.
The distillery uses one mashtun (6.2 tonnes) and six washbacks (together, 210,000 liters). The still is composed of two wash stills (together 23,000 liters) and two spirit stills (together 21,000 liters), all heated by steam. The Harvey Bottling Hall has been running since May 25, 2003. This is one of only two distilleries on Islay which bottles on-site. The other one is Kilchoman. In May 2004, a cooperage hall was opened, and since December 2004, a percentage of the malt which is used is grown on the island.
2006 was an important year for Bruichladdich, the year that the new owners introduced their first whisky which was matured and bottled under their management in late 2006. The name of this first whisky is Port Charlotte Evolution 5yr old, referring to the former distillery in Port Charlotte.
11 September 2011 saw the first bottling of flagship dram Laddie 10, which was the very spirit that ran through the spirit safe at the Bruichladdich Distillery on 11 September 2001, ten years before. Soon after this memorable moment in Bruichladdich history, in the summer of 2012, the distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau, a French drinks giant. The total transaction value amounts to £58m, comprising of £48m for the acquisition of the entire share capital of Bruichladdich and estimated debt of £10m that Rémy Cointreau will assume. The first changes became visible in the autumn. Production is to increase by means of 24x7 shifts and the very popular Botanist Gin will likely become as big, and as important, as the whisky is today.