"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.
Diageo will spend £150 million (US$215m) on an extensive upgrade of its Scotch whisky visitor centres, as well as a new Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh.
Diageo selected Edinburgh as the location for the new "state-of-the-art" Johnnie Walker experience due to its strong growth in tourism.
"Whisky from Diageo's distilleries all over Scotland contribute to Johnnie Walker, but four distilleries, Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish, will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker venue in Edinburgh, representing the "four corners of Scotland" and the regional flavour variations of Lowland (Glenkinchie), Speyside (Cardhu), Island (Caol Ila) and Highland (Clynelish) crucial to the art of whisky blending", says Diageo. This is in addition to the £35 million already committed to re-open the lost distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora, taking Diageos network of distilleries with specialist visitor experiences in Scotland to 14. Meanwhile, the global appeal of Scotch whisky is helping attract more visitors, with many interested in the provenance of local food and drink.
Tourism in Scotland is experiencing record growth.
The centrpeice is a Guinness Storehouse-style Johnnie Walher centre in Edinburgh. Pic Artist’s impression
Click on the video below to see more visuals of the planned Johnnie Walker attraction.
"For decades to come our distilleries will play a big role in attracting more global visitors to Scotland". Last week, I launched Scotland is Now, a new campaign that will put Scotland in the worldwide spotlight and showcase the countrys 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". He said he hoped to replicate this success in the Scottish capital. I welcome Diageos major new investment. With this new investment, we turn our focus to bringing the world to Scotland.
'What I imagine is the place we will create in Edinburgh will be in its own way bringing about the personality of Scotch whisky and Johnnie Walker... where tourists will come out feeling engaged in a different way, having had a memorable experience'.
David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland added: "Over the past six years we have invested over £1 billion in building our Scotch whisky production infrastructure to grow exports of Scotch around the world". Both distilleries will also feature visitor centres.
Diageo will also provide further funding for its "Learning for Life" training programme, which has provided hospitality training to 1,000 young unemployed people in Scotland over the last five years. The company will also set up a separate scholarship and mentoring program for young entrepreneurs with a special emphasis on residents of Kilmarnock, which was John Walker's home town and remained the primary bottling site for Johnnie Walker until the plant was closed in 2010.