The award-winning Isle of Arran Distillery visitor centre at Lochranza welcomed a record number of visitors last year. Almost 110,000 people made the journey to find ‘the Arran Waters’ in 2017 – a 6% increase on 2016 – meaning visitor numbers have more than doubled since 2012.
With the Scotch Whisky Association’s most recent report estimating 1.7 million visits to all 130 Scotch whisky distilleries, Arran accounts for 7%. An impressive total considering its isolated location and distance from other producers.
The independent distillery recorded a turnover of over £6.9m in 2016 – an increase of 11% – with the Visitor Centre contributing 17% of this total.
Over the six years from 2010 – a period of extensive investment – turnover has increased two and half times and net profit surged tenfold to over £1.3.
Euan Mitchell, managing director of the Isle of Arran Distillers, said: “2017 was another fantastic year for us – both in terms of tourism and sales of the Arran Malt itself.
“We’re particularly proud that so many people are making the journey to Lochranza – from self-proclaimed whisky tourist to curious holiday-makers on Arran and everyone inbetween.
“It is for this reason that we have placed so much emphasis on the visitor experience. With the completion of a £1m renovation at Lochranza, and with the current construction of second £10m distillery and visitor centre site on the south of the island at Lagg, we intend to improve an already world-class whisky tourism destination.”
As a consequence of this investment, last year the distillery was awarded Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism at the international Drinks Business Awards and Best Distillery/Brewery Tour at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards.
Faye Waterlow, visitor centre manager at Lochranza, said: “We have long recognised the value of giving consumers the chance to experience the whisky making process and the source of the Arran spirit. We appreciate the enormous contribution that the location of our distillery makes.
“The steady growth of the visitor centre is a testament to increasing consumer demand for authenticity and whisky with a story to tell. We look forward to sharing this story with even more visitors when the second site opens next year.”
Total visitor numbers to both sites are expected to exceed 200,000 by 2020 once the new visitor centre in Lagg has been opened. The contribution to turnover is forecast to exceed £2m a year.