Ardbeg Distillery is one of the three "Kildalton Distilleries" and can be found on Islay's south coast. Ardbeg is a close neighbour of Lagavulin which sits in between Ardbed and Laphroaig. The name Ardbeg comes from the local wee village where the distillery is situated. Ardbeg distills one of the peatiest whiskies on the island.
Ardbeg distillery was established in 1815 and operated as a Private Ltd. Co. until january 1977 when it was taken over by Hiram Walker (producers of Ballantine), who sadly demolished the best of the maturing warehouses, and later by Allied Distillers, who 'mothballed' the distillery in 1981. Ardbeg remained silent until 1989. During those years the buildings were allowed to fall into disrepair.
Ardbeg Distillery was bought and reopened in 1997 by Glenmorangie Plc, and is now one of the fastest growing Islay Single Malt Whiskies. Glenmorangie invested heavily in refurbishing the buildings and plant. To maintain Ardbeg's very distinctive character, the specification of malt used in the production of Ardbeg requires to be at a minimum level of 50 p.p.m. phenol.
Glenmorangie Plc. is owned by the French company, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). At Ardbeg they produce around 160 barrels a week. With each barrel they fill 250 bottles and so they produce a staggering 40.000 bottles of whisky each week. For that they work continuously, 24 hours a day, 6 1/2 days a week with 6 persons in the distillery and 3 in the warehouse. At the moment of writing the warehouses were completely full. Because of that the maturing takes place in other warehouses in Edinburgh. Ardbeg distillery get their Barley from Port Ellen Maltings. 60 tons of very peaty barley each week. Visitors to Ardbeg will find an added bonus, the very fine "Old Kiln Café", where excellent lunches can be enjoyed including a taste of the end product.
The Ardbeg Committee has been established in 2000 to "promote the advancement of general knowledge and enjoyment of Ardbeg". All Ardbeg-aficionados can join this Committee on Ardbeg's website. Special bottlings can sometimes be obtained by members of this committee.