Diageo will reopen Lowland distillery Glenkinchie this week following a “major transformation” as part of the group’s £185 million (US$241m) investment in Scotch whisky tourism.
In 2018, Diageo revealed its £185m investment to upgrade its Scotch whisky centres, which also includes a new Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh. Diageo is also restoring the silent Port Ellen and Brora distilleries as part of the investment.
Four Diageo-owned distilleries – Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish – will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker experience when it opens next summer to represent the ‘four corners of Scotland’. The Johnnie Walker site on Princes Street is the focal point of the investment.
In October 2018, Diageo submitted plans to “significantly expand” the visitor centre at Glenkinchie in East Lothian. The site is the Lowland home for Johnnie Walker.
Barbara Smith, managing director of brand homes for Diageo in Scotland, said: “The opening of the wonderful new visitor experience and garden at Glenkinchie is the first step in our long-term £185 million investment in whisky tourism in Scotland.
“We are acutely aware of the difficult times many people are going through, particularly our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sector across Scotland.
“We know there’s a long way to go and a lot of uncertainty ahead. Still, we believe in the resilience of our business and our communities, and we will be doing all we can through our investment to sow the seeds of recovery and future growth.”
Glenkinchie’s red brick warehouse buildings was turned into a multi-level visitor experience, which is surrounded by a new landscape garden with an orchard and plants native to the region.
The revamped site also includes new tasting rooms and a bar area which will serve whisky Highballs, tasting platters and dram flights. A number of specialist tours and experiences will be on offer including: Glenkinchie Flavour Journey, Whisky in the Wild Tour, Warehouse and Cask Tour, Flowers and Cocktails Class, and a Behind the Scenes Tour and Tasting.
The facility has also been designed to operate sustainably by protecting wildlife in the local area, including the installation of beehives, bat houses, bug boxes, and plantings to attract feeding wildlife.
Glenkinchie will reopen to visitors on Thursday 29 October, subject to the government’s guidance on Covid-19.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers