Diageo invests £150m in Johnnie Walker visitor experience

Diageo plans to invest £150 million in Scotch whisky tourism – the biggest sum ever allocated to the sector – to create a Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience in Edinburgh that will bring together the “four corners” of the industry.

The investment will be made over three years, building to the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker in 2020

The investment will be made over three years, building toward the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker in 2020, and will see Diageo install a new state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker immersive experience at its flagship visitor centre in Edinburgh.

While whisky from Diageo’s distilleries all over Scotland contribute to the Johnnie Walker blend, four distilleries, Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish, will be put at the heart of the Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh, representing the “four corners of Scotland” and the regional flavour variations of Lowland (Glenkinchie), Speyside (Cardhu), Island (Caol Ila) and Highland (Clynelish).

Together, they will create a Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland, which Diageo hopes will encourage visitors to the capital city to also travel to Scotland’s more rural communities.

“Scotch is at the heart of Diageo, and this new investment reinforces our ongoing commitment to growing our Scotch whisky brands and supporting Scotland’s tourism industry,” said Diageo chief executive, Ivan Menezes. “For decades to come our distilleries will play a big role in attracting more international visitors to Scotland. I am also delighted we will be able to bring our knowledge and expertise to help the next generation, through mentor programmes and skills training.”

The company will also upgrade its network of 12 distillery visitor centres in an effort to create a “new generation of Scotch attractions” where people can meet the craftsmen and craftswomen who make the world’s greatest distilled spirit. Diageo’s other visitor distilleries include Lagavulin, Talisker, Glen Ord, Oban, Dalwhinnie, Blair Athol, Cragganmore and Royal Lochnagar.

This investment will be in addition to the £35 million already committed to re-open the ‘lost distilleries’ of Port Ellen and Brora.

 

The announcement comes as tourism in Scotland is experiencing record growth, and as the Scottish Government and its agencies, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland, launch the Scotland is Now campaign to sell Scotland to the world as a business and tourism destination.

“This significant investment will not only help attract more tourists to Scotland, offering world class visitor experiences, but it also underlines the fundamental importance of the whisky sector to Scotland’s economy,” said First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP. “Last week, I launched Scotland is Now, a new campaign that will put Scotland in the international spotlight and showcase the country’s world-leading assets, such as whisky, to a global audience. Today’s announcement highlights to the world that Scotland is a leading destination for tourists and business investors.”

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