Bruichladdich was built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers on the shore of Loch Indaal, on the Rinns of Islay, the westernmost part of the island. At the time, the distillery was a state-of-the-art design unlike Islay's older distilleries, which had developed from old farm buildings.
The uniquely tall and narrow-necked stills were chosen to produce a very pure and original spirit, the opposite of the styles produced by the other Islay farm distilleries. Over the next forty years it subsequently changed owners several times as a result of corporate take-overs and rationalisation of the industry, narrowly avoiding closure until 1994, when it was shut down as being 'surplus to requirements'.
The distillery was subsequently purchased by a group of private investors led by Mark Reynier of independent whisky bottler Murray McDavid in December 2000. Jim McEwan, who had worked at Bowmore Distillery was hired as master distiller and production director. In 2012, French drinks company Rémy Cointreau bought the distillery.
Having escaped modernisation, most of the original Harvey machinery is still in use today. The distillery produces three distinct styles sold under different brands: unpeated Bruichladdich, heavily-peated Port Charlotte and the ultra-peated Octomore.