A SCOTTISH distillery with historic links to Robert Burns has hired a renowned single malt whisky maker.

John Campbell, the former Laphroaig Distillery manager, will join Lochlea Distillery as production director ahead of the release of their inaugural liquid set to launch in early 2022.

The distillery is based on Lochlea farm in Ayrshire, which was once home to Robert Burns who worked on there from 1777 to 1784.

Moving to the mainland after 27 years working on his native Islay, Campbell brings extensive experience to the role.

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He said: “Moving over to the mainland and joining Lochlea Distillery is an exciting step for my career. It’s an opportunity to develop a whisky that is innovative and distinctive, with a distillery that shares my ethos on quality, environment and sustainability.Getting involved in the process from this early stage means I can help to define what Lochlea becomes.

He went on: “The next few years are going to be incredibly exciting for us and I’m looking forward to us creating something really special.”

Lochlea’s commercial manager, David Ferguson, added: “From our first meeting it was clear that John’s values aligned closely with ours as a business. His experience at Laphroaig in growing an iconic global whisky brand over the past 27 years is impressive.

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"Though the most exciting part for me is that he brings new ideas, an emphasis on quality and an entrepreneurial streak which shone through with the Cairdeas bottlings he was responsible for. Having full traceability from growing our own barley through to maturing every drop of our spirit on site is great, but just as important is the team we’re building to develop the brand.

"John is another fantastic addition and will undoubtedly help us fulfil the ambitious plans we have for Lochlea.”

Planning for Lochlea Distillery began in 2014 with it taking four years to complete.

In 2015 businessman Neil McGeoch sold off his herd of pedigree Simmental cattle at the 222-acre farm.