Diageo unveils ‘weird and wonderful’ whisky arm

Diageo has launched an experimental whisky arm tasked with producing “unorthodox, weird and wonderful whiskies”.


Smoky Goat is described as a “smoky sweet” blended Scotch.

Called Whisky Union, the project was unveiled during Diageo’s investors conference held in New York last week, and is described as an “experimental craft whiskey off-shoot within Diageo”.

“Our whiskey makers’ creations are about exploration of flavour and pushing the 55 boundaries of blending”, said David Gates, head of premium core spirits at Diageo during the conference. “They are unorthodox, weird and wonderful and possibly like nothing you’ve ever tasted before”

The project is in line with Diageo’s recently unveiled strategy to target growth in the Scotch whisky sector, and compete with the rise of innovative American and New World whiskies.

The first two whiskies from Whisky Union will be launched on a trial basis in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna, with a global release to follow. They include Smoky Goat (€24), a “smoky sweet”  blended Scotch whisky, and Boxing Hares (€22), a 35% abv spirit drink made from Scotch whisky infused with hops. A third whisky – a blend of Scotch, Canadian and American whiskies – called Huxley, will launch shortly after.


Boxing Hares is a 35% abv spirit drink made from Scotch whisky infused with hops.

“We know that these Whiskey Union products may well be quite polarising – and that’s just fine”, said Gates. “Some of them will fail – and that’s just fine. This concept is about experimenting, testing and giving freedom to our ‘makers’ imaginations and giving our consumers a range of completely different styles and personalities of whiskey.”

Some of its creations will be labeled as Scotch whisky, when they adhere to industry regulations, while others will not be.

“It’s worth stating here that we think the SWA regulations are a good thing,” said Gates. “They give consumers complete reassurance that when they buy a product labelled Scotch whisky, they know exactly what they are getting and that it is of the very highest standard. But there is room to play. When our innovations comply completely to the SWA regulations we shall call then Scotch whiskies and when they don’t we won’t.”

All whiskies produced by Whisky Union will be released under a “new business model”, which Diageo hopes will attract a new group of whisky drinkers.

“We believe these brands and a new way of bringing them to market will allow us to reach a new group of people who will not have engaged with whiskey before”, explained Gates. “And we are going to do it in a different way.”

One Response to “Diageo unveils ‘weird and wonderful’ whisky arm”

  1. Chairface42 says:

    I love when I can buy stuff produced by family owned small businesses in a craft way. Oh, sorry, I commented on the wrong article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Manager

The Old Curiosity Distillery
United Kingdom

Marketing Assistant

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

PR Manager

Master of Malt
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hairy Dog Brewery
Haywards Heath, UK

National Operations Director

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Brand Development Executive

Manchester Gin
Manchester, UK

Sales Executive – Hush Heath Estate

Hush Heath Estate
London/ Kent

Marketing Manager

Zonin UK
Richmond, UK

Love Wine, Love Chile

London,United Kingdom
25th Sep 2018

Almaviva Masterclass

London,United Kingdom
26th Sep 2018
Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2018

Enter your wines into the Champagne Masters 2018, the only blind competition dedicated to Champagne in the UK.

Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2018

the drinks business is proud to announce the fifth year of its Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters

Click to view more