Whisky Exchange owners Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh have taken a big step forward in their plans to build a distillery on Islay after gaining planning permission from Argyll & Bute Council.

Permission for the development has been granted to Elixir Distillers, the production arm of their group of companies that also includes Speciality Drinks, Speciality Brands and The Whisky Exchange.

Sukhinder Singh said: “The news that our planning application has been accepted is fantastic.

“We’ve worked closely with the Argyll & Bute planning committee to create plans for a distillery that fits into the landscape and supports the community.

“We want to create whiskies that inspire both the people of Islay and Islay whisky fans worldwide, enhancing the already glowing reputation of Islay whiskies, while also becoming an integral part of the community.”

Elixir said the design of the distillery features an exterior that keeps with the traditional look of the other south coast distilleries on Islay, alongside some modern touches that reflect the individual landscape of the site on which it will be built.

The interior will include floor maltings capable of supplying over half of the distillery’s capacity.

The plans include housing, a visitor centre and a multi-purpose educational facility.

The company also plans to create an apprentice programme to train future generations of distillers.

The next step will be to finalise details of the plans, with the objective of breaking ground in 2021.

The name of the distillery will be announced at a later date.

Oliver Chilton, head blender at Elixir, says: “We take great pride in being able to learn, as whisky enthusiasts, and use that knowledge as a guide to find and bottle great whisky including our Independent bottling brands Port Askaig and Elements of Islay.

“Having our own distillery will be a fantastic opportunity to apply the same methodology and passion for flavour in a drive to make truly great spirit to enhance the incredible reputation that Islay single malt already has.”