Diageo plans for Speyside whisky growth

Posted: 27 June 2011 | DIAGEO | No comments yet

SPEYSIDE is to be the focus of new proposals by Diageo to grow its Scotch whisky production capacity…


SPEYSIDE is to be the focus of new proposals by Diageo to grow its Scotch whisky production capacity, the world’s leading premium drinks business revealed yesterday.

A planning application has been submitted to Moray Council for the redevelopment of Diageo’s Dailuaine distillery complex in Speyside and consultations with residents there will begin this week. These plans would see a £9.5million upgrade of the existing bio-plant at Dailuaine, which deals with whisky by-products from a number of Diageo’s distilleries, opening the potential for future production capacity increases across Speyside.

Diageo, which runs more Scotch whisky distilleries than any other company, is also developing a series of proposals which would follow the Dailuaine proposal and which would see production capacity increased at existing distilleries by over 10 million litres per annum (mla) over the next two to three years – the equivalent capacity to building a major new distillery – with an investment of around £10million. The details of these plans are still being developed and will be rolled out gradually over the next two to three years, subject to the relevant planning processes. The Speyside region is home to 17 of Diageo’s 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland. Diageo has already invested heavily in the region with the opening of the Roseisle distillery last year – the first major malt whisky distillery to be built in Scotland for more than 30 years, at a cost of £40million.

Announcing the plan, Diageo’s Malt Distilling Director Brian Higgs, said: “Scotch whisky has never been more popular around the world. In recent years we have been able to translate that into significant capital investments in our operations as we build our capacity to meet the global growth potential of Scotch. Speyside is already at the heart of our malt distilling operations and I am delighted that, beginning with the Dailuaine proposal, we are looking at further enhancing our business in this area.”

Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland, said the announcement was the latest in a significant ongoing Scotland-wide investment in Scotch. He said: “Over the past six financial years Diageo has invested around £600 million in its business in Scotland, including our new £40 million distillery at Roseisle in Speyside which we opened last year. This announcement is another demonstration of our confidence in and commitment to the future of Scotland and Scotch.”

Diageo is also investing in Scotch whisky growth outside of the Speyside area. This year will also see £3.2million capital investment in increasing capacity at the Glen Ord distillery near Inverness. Earlier this year, Diageo announced a £3.5million investment in increasing capacity at its Caol Ila distillery in Islay. Diageo’s announcement was warmly welcomed by Moray Council representatives as a positive boost for the local economy.

Councillor John Russell, chairman of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee, said: “I very much welcome this announcement by Diageo which further underlines the importance of the Scotch whisky industry to the Moray economy.” Moray Council’s Labour group leader, Councillor John Divers, also welcomed the investment during a time of economic uncertainty. “Hopefully the construction phase will create much-needed new job opportunities in the area,” he said.

SNP group leader and Speyside councillor Pearl Paul said: “The investment by the whisky industry in Speyside continues to be really significant and I am delighted that Diageo are showing the confidence to keep up that momentum. “At a time when Moray is under severe economic pressure from the UK Government’s defence decision, that confidence in one of our key industrial and tourism sectors is very welcome indeed.”

Councillor Graham Leadbitter, the SNP group’s spokesman on economic development, said: “With major investment at Roseisle, Rothes and now further investment planned in Speyside, the whisky industry is bucking the trend, “The continued success of the whisky sector is critical to Moray’s economic recovery and future growth. Investment like this does not just create new jobs but also supports the construction and manufacturing sectors.”

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