PLANS for what would be the smallest distillery on the whisky island of Islay have been approved by local councillors.

The proposed distillery, which would be situated close to Port Charlotte, would have the capacity to produce 200,000 litres of pure alcohol per year.

The plans, which have been approved by Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee, include a visitor centre, with developers keen to take advantage of the attractions of the surrounding landscape.

Islanders Bertie Nesselrode and Scott McLellan, who are behind the new project, have welcomed the news. Bertie said: “Today’s decision is a fantastic and significant milestone for the project. We believe passionately in the distillery and the many benefits we know it will bring to this part of Islay.

“Along with producing a world-class, sustainable whisky, we are proud to be offering a community benefit fund, ensuring that all islanders have the opportunity to benefit from the distillery in the future.

“We will now turn our attention to the next, exciting stage in the distillery’s development, and would like to thank all those who have supported us so far.”

Councillors were unanimous in approving the proposals, with the development team hoping to begin work next year. It is hoped the first whisky will be produced in late 2024, early 2025.

There are currently nine distilleries in operation on Islay.