The Ardbeg distillery has been producing whisky since 1798, and began commercial production in 1815. Like most Scottish distilleries, for most of its history, its whisky was produced for use in blended whisky, rather than as a single malt. By 1886 the distillery produced 300,000 gallons of whisky per year, and employed 60 workers.
Production was halted in 1981, but resumed on a limited basis in 1989 and continued at a low level through late 1996, during the period when Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker. In 1997 the distillery was bought and reopened by Glenmorangie Plc (subsequently taken over by the French company LVMH in 2004) with full production resuming in 1998.
In 2014 Burn Stewart, the owner of the distillery, merged with the South African company, Distell, who now own the distillery among others.