DIAGEO has been given the green light for a major project which will see a new Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Scotland and the transformation of four distilleries.
The project is seen as one of the biggest investment in Scottish Whisky Tourism and their plans to transform the Cardhu Distillery in Speyside were given the go ahead yesterday.
It will include a flagship Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh and will transform the Glenkinchie, Caol Ila, Clynelish and Cardhu, which represents the ‘four corners of Scotland’ as part of a £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism.
Cardhu Distillery has a particularly strong place in the almost 200 year history of Johnnie Walker.
It was the first distillery to be acquired by John Walker & Sons in 1893 to secure the supply of its fine single malt.
Cardhu remains a key single malt in the making of Johnnie Walker today.
Under the plans the visitor experience at Cardhu will tell the story of Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, the pioneering women who established and ran the distillery in the 19th Century, as well as the connections to the Walker family.
David Cutter, Chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have received planning permission for the transformation of Cardhu Distillery in Speyside.
“This gives us the green light on all of our key Johnnie Walker tourism investment projects from Edinburgh to the four corners of Scotland.
“Together these locations will create a unique Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland, encouraging visitors to the capital city to also travel to the country’s extraordinary rural communities.”
Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Global Scotch Whisky Director, said: “This is another important step on or journey to create visitor experiences for Johnnie Walker in Scotland as we prepare to celebrate the brand’s 200th anniversary in 2020, and as we work to make new generations of people around the world to fall in love with Johnnie Walker, Scotch whisky and Scotland.”
Laura Sharp, Cardhu Distillery Brand Home Manager, said: “This announcement is very exciting and we want to thank Moray Council and all our neighbours for their continued support.
“This is an important step forward on our journey to transform Cardhu’s visitor experience and everyone involved is very much looking forward to work getting underway. Speyside is a hugely important part of the Scotch whisky tourism map and we are very excited to bring new visitors to the region.”
The latest planning approval came after Johnnie Walker last week reported a strong year of global growth with sales increasing by 7%. Johnnie Walker is Scotland’s largest global exported consumer brand with seven bottles exported around the world every second.
Diageo is currently investing over £185 million in key Scotch whisky projects in Scotland.
The £150 million tourism investment will not only create the Johnnie Walker four corner distillery experiences but will also upgrade the company’s other eight single malt distillery visitor attractions across Scotland and a further £35 million has been investment to reopen the iconic distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora.