By Ian McConnell

THE owner of Ardbeg single malt whisky is buying a nearby hotel in what is described as a “deepening” of the Islay distillery’s commitment to its “Scottish island home”.

The Glenmorangie Company, part of French luxury goods group LVMH, has bought the Islay Hotel, with plans to create “a world-class whisky and hospitality experience”. The purchase price was not disclosed, with Ardbeg citing “commercial reasons”. The distillery described the move as a "multi-million-pound investment”.

The 13-bedroom hotel, which employs around 30 staff including seasonal workers, is being purchased from Port Ellen Hotel Ltd.

Ardbeg said: “This multi-million-pound investment offers Ardbeg the opportunity to create a world-class whisky and hospitality experience a short distance from where it has been making its untamed smoky whisky for more than 200 years.”

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It added: “Ardbeg has long held the interests of Islay’s people close to its heart. So when the chance came to invest in the town of Port Ellen by acquiring the popular Islay Hotel, the distillery team jumped at the chance.”

Ardbeg declared that, with missives concluded, the aim was to complete the sale and take ownership on October 31.

It added that the hotel would be run as a going concern, declaring it is looking forward to “offering outstanding hospitality to Islay residents, tourists and Ardbeg fans, long into the future”.

Ardbeg, which employs 31 people at its distillery and visitor centre, said: “With its traditional whitewashed walls, sea views and renowned bar and restaurant, the hotel is already a destination for whisky lovers. It is located on Islay’s south coast, just a few miles from Ardbeg’s...distillery, which draws tens of thousands of the whisky’s fans each year.”

It noted the purchase was the “latest in a series of substantial investments” made on the island.

A spokeswoman said: “The Glenmorangie Company plans to run the hotel as a going concern and looks forward to creating another world-class whisky experience on the island, offering outstanding hospitality to Islay’s residents, tourists, and all fans of Ardbeg. The Islay Hotel already has a wonderful reputation for hospitality and we intend to spend some time developing our knowledge and understanding of the hotel before confirming any new offerings.”

Thomas Moradpour, president and chief executive of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, said: “Ardbeg has been rooted on Islay for over 200 years. And since we plan to be distilling on the island for at least 200 more, we are excited to invest even further in our homeland, by purchasing the Islay Hotel and creating a world-class whisky and hospitality experience. We look forward to welcoming whisky fans from Islay and around the globe.”