ISLAY CHARITIES RAISE A DRAM TO LAGAVULIN LEGACY
A range of good causes on the famous whisky island of Islay raised a dram of Lagavulin to celebrate sharing in a major financial legacy from the distillery’s 200th anniversary.
Representatives of the charities, including the local swimming pool, cyber café, arts and festival organisations, visited the distillery to officially mark the handover of £588,395 of funds which were raised through a special Lagavulin 200th anniversary bottling.
The principal beneficiary of the funding is Islay Heritage, a ground-breaking new initiative which has been established to explore, conserve and promote Islay’s wealth of historical and archaeological sites. Islay is one of Scotland’s most important historical locations being home to Lords of the Isles and the epi-centre of the country’s early and pre-historical life. Now with a grant of £318,395 from the Lagavulin Legacy fund, the ambitious project aims to make Islay as famous for its history as it currently is for Scotch whisky.
The Lagavulin Legacy project will also fund the restoration and conservation of around 700 acres of peatlands on Islay in recognition of the vital role peat plays in the creation of Lagavulin and other whiskies for which Islay is famous.
A total of seven good causes will benefit from the Lagavulin Legacy fund* reflecting a range of local good causes and projects designed to further enhance Islay’s reputation as a ‘must-visit’ destination for global visitors.
Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo Head of Whisky Outreach, who led the Lagavulin 200th Anniversary project, said: “The Lagavulin Legacy fund is not about making donations, it is about investing in the rich fabric of the Islay community. That’s why we’ve chosen a range of charities to support from very local community good causes, to the ambitious new Islay Heritage project which aims to really put Islay on the map as one of the world’s most important archaeological and historical destinations.”
Georgie Crawford, Lagavulin Distillery manager, added: “The celebrations for Lagavulin’s 200th anniversary last year were fantastic, but the absolute highlight of it all is to be able to handover such a significant financial contribution to these good causes.
“It makes me incredibly proud to welcome our friends and partners here at the distillery to mark the handover of the funds. We look forward to continuing to work with these good causes and to seeing the legacy project bring real benefits to Islay and its communities.”
The Lagavulin 200th anniversary legacy funds were raised through the sale of a special bottling of a Lagavulin 1991 Single Malt Scotch Whisky cask which was carefully selected by the distillery team and Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes. Just 522 bottles were put on sale, 521 of the bottles via a special ballot on The Whisky Exchange at a price of £1,494 – a price set to acknowledge the historic year of the first recorded distillation of Scotch Whisky – with bottle no.1 then auctioned by The Whisky Exchange, raising a further £8,395.
The funds are being transferred to the charities with immediate effect to allow the legacy projects to progress at the earliest opportunity.
*Lagavulin 200 charity recipients
The proceeds received by Diageo from the sale of the Lagavulin 1991 bottling have been donated to the following registered charities in the following proportions, to fund projects on Islay which are designed to enhance the understanding of the rich and diverse history of Islay and enhance the life of the local community:
|Islay Heritage(OSCR No. SC046938)
||A wide ranging scope to include: research at Dunyvaig Castle, the creation of an Islay Heritage trail to help more people understand its rich history, conservation work focusing on Kildalton chapel and education.FUNDING AMOUNT: £318,396
|McTaggart Cyber Café(OSCR No. SC028306)
||Some upgrade works to the fabric of the building including heating, new doors & windows and improvements to the Bistro Café area to allow for more activities for a wider range of people.FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000
|Islay & Jura Community Enterprises Limited McTaggart Leisure Centre(OSCR No. SC015815)
||Some fundamental works are required for the swimming baths to upgrade equipment and improve energy efficient.FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000
|Finlaggan Trust(OSCR No. SC000821)
||Refurbishment and modernisation of the existing visitor centre and development of the Finlaggan Bridge.FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000
|Islay Arts(OSCR No. SC000272)
||Funding will enable Islay Arts to increase the scope of events it funds.FUNDING AMOUNT: £20,000
|Islay Festival Association(OSCR No. SC004390)
||Funding will help support the organisation to develop its events programme.FUNDING AMOUNT: £10,000
|Royal Society for the Protection of Birds(OSCR No. SC037654)(Charity Commission No. 207076)
||RSPB is actively engaged in peat restoration on its estates on Islay at The Oa and Loch Gruinart. The funding will be used to fund peat restoration and conservation on the island.FUNDING AMOUNT: £60,000
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About Diageo in Scotland
- Scotland is one of Diageo’s largest spirit supply centres responsible for producing nearly 50 million cases of leading brands of Scotch whisky and white spirits and over four million cases of Ready To Drink brands annually.
- Around 85% of Diageo’s production in Scotland is sold overseas.
- Diageo in Scotland currently employs around 3,500 people.
- Diageo currently operates 28 malt distilleries and one grain distillery and has a 50 per cent share in a further grain distillery.
- As well as engineering and technical support functions, there are extensive warehousing and packaging operations in Scotland and the company’s Scottish headquarters are in Edinburgh.
Local records suggest that Lagavulin was already a centre of whisky production in the early 18th century. There had almost certainly been many other illicit stills before John Johnston founded the ﬁrst legal distillery at Lagavulin Bay in 1816. As with all Scottish distilleries, it passed through the hands of different owners, including the celebrated Sir Peter Mackie, whose company became White Horse Distillers, forever associated with Lagavulin. White Horse joined The Distillers Company Ltd. (eventually Diageo) in 1927. In 1989, Lagavulin, now normally bottled at 16 years rather than the original 12, became one of the six Classic Malts of Scotland™.