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Port Ellen Maltings

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Wierdo started a discussion


The link is to an article from UK based online spirits retailer Master of Malt.

It details something that has been rumoured for some time concerning Port Ellen Maltings on Islay. The owner of Port Ellen maltings is the drinks giant Diageo. Owner of many distilleries including the peated whiskies Lagavulin,Talisker and Caol Ila. Port Ellen maltings provides peated malt not only to the Diageo distilleries producing peated malt but many other distilleries in Scotland that produce peated whiskies. Chiefly the other Islay based distilleries and apparently Tobermory distillery for use in Ledaig.

Diageo are said to be limiting the amount of peated malt they make available to non-Diageo distilleries from this year. And are rumoured to be ceasing providing peated malt to non-Diageo distilleries altogether from 2024.

This obviously would put those distilleries in a bit of a bind of having to find some other way to produce peated malt from next year onwards if they want to continue producing peated whiskies. Distilleries like Laphroaig do produce some of their own peated malt but only apparently about 25% of what they need. So I guess these distilleries will either have to find a way to produce their own peated malted barley or find a company that will provide it for them that Diageo doesnt own.

There are also persistent rumours (unconfirmed) that Diageo intend to start limiting the amount of casks of Caol Ila they sell to independent bottlers. So there maybe less indy Caol Ila availble in the future.

Obviously, the effect of these decisions perhaps won't be seen for a few years yet and the nature of the whisky industry is that everything is so long term they have time to respond. But for lovers of a peated dram like myself it is a concern.

20 days ago

2 replies

Nozinan replied

@Wierdo Diageo will do what is best for Diageo. It has nothing to do with what other producers need or what consumers want.

Thankfully I have all the peated whisky I could ever consume, and plenty to share.

20 days ago 3Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@Nozinan from a business point of view Diageo's decision makes perfect sense. Hampering their competitors ability to bring their product to market whilst simultaneously significantly raising the prices of the Diageo product.

I think it sticks in the craw a little because the Scotch Whisky industry has never really been that kind of industry. There has historically always been a 'rising tide raises all ships' attitude and much co-operation, trading of casks etc between distilleries. But that harks back to days when the distilleries were all family owned. Not to the modern world where they're mostly owned by multi-billion dollar (dollar not pound) luxury goods companies.

On a personal level I have a fair bit of peated whisky stocked up and will stock up a bit more over the next few years ahead of any potential shortfall on the market.

I won't stock up on any Diageo products though. I haven't brought anything of theirs for a few years now. Generally I find the quality isn't there, or if it is (Lagavulin 12) the price is extortionate. I just don't like the way they operate as a company so won't give them my custom if I can avoid doing so.

20 days ago 4Who liked this?

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