Johnnie Walker transformation plans for Caol Ila Distillery approved

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Planning permission to transform the Caol Ila Distillery has been approved ahead of a £150m investment.

Argyll and Bute Council has granted planning permission to leading distilling company Diageo to develop the visitor experience in the distillery.

The development is part of a £150m investment into whisky tourism and is focused on the world’s best selling whisky brand Johnnie Walker.

Work is scheduled to commence in the next few weeks with the distillery becoming the Islay home of Johnnie Walker

The Caol Ila distillery will be thematically linked with the new global Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Edinburgh.

The development will include a new foot-bridge

The plans will see a new state-of-the-art visitor experience created inside the beautiful shore-side Caol Ila warehouse, including a stunning bar that takes full advantage of the stunning views across the Sound of Islay.

A new foot-bridge will allow guests to enter the roof of the distillery warehouse, linking to new parking facilities on the hill above the distillery discreetly located and carefully landscaped to manage visual impact and traffic movement.

The plans were shared first with the distillery’s neighbours and local Islay stakeholders  in October last year, with planning permission submitted to Argyll & Bute Council in early November.

Leigh Aitken, Caol Ila Distillery Brand Home Manager, said: “This is very exciting news and we want to thank Argyll & Bute Council and all our neighbours for their support. Everyone involved is now very much looking forward to work getting underway.

“This is a major investment project that will not only transform the Caol Ila visitor experience, but will add further to Islay’s reputation as the greatest whisky island in the world.”

Caol Ila is one of a number of Diageo distilleries that will see major work undertaken as part investment plans totalling more than £185 million across Scotland.

This includes the £150 million investment in the new global visitor attraction for Johnnie Walker in Edinburgh, as well as investment in 12 distillery brand homes, and the £35 million investment in the revival of the iconic lost distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora.

 
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