THE Isle of Arran’s first distillery for 25 years has opened its doors and is welcoming visitors.

Lagg Distillery, the second on the island, made the move in response to growing interest in whisky tourism.

The visitor centre includes a shop, an interactive video showcasing Arran’s whisky history and café and restaurant which will provide food and drink with ingredients sourced from range of local produce.

The facility has two new copper stills and four wooden wash-backs in the same room, allowing visitors the opportunity to be guided through each stage of the whisky journey.

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Lagg is the first new distillery on the island since the opening of Isle of Arran Distillers’ other site in Lochranza, in 1995.

It is expected that the total visitor numbers to both sites will increase to over 200,000 by 2020.

The independently owned distiller has 22 staff on the island.

Whisky production at Lagg started earlier this year, and the first middle cut of spirit was recorded on March 19. The spirit is expected to mature into a rich, smoky, heavily-peated Lagg Single Malt which it is claimed will be very different in character to what the distillers currently produce at the original distillery.

Production will be overseen by distillery manager, Graham Omand, an Islay native who has spent the past eight years at the Lochranza Distillery, and Master distiller James MacTaggart, who has over 40 years of experience in the industry.

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Mr Omand said: “We’re all thrilled to be celebrating the opening of our spectacular new Lagg Distillery and to bring production back to the heart of whisky-making on the Isle of Arran.

“It’s an outstanding achievement from everybody that was involved in the process and something that people on the island and beyond can be very proud of.

“The whole team here is passionate about bringing Arran’s fascinating whisky story to life and to give it the recognition that it deserves. We can’t wait to start writing the next chapter of this story and welcoming whisky-lovers from around the world to Lagg.”

The visitor experience explores Arran’s place in the story of whisky with references to past distillation in the south of the island, both legal and illicit.

The company said that more than half of the 700 first-fill casks which are available for purchase from the distillery have already been sold.