Almost a year ago plans were approved and work began on the development of Diageo’s £150million whisky tourism venture. Part of the expansion includes a new state of the art visitor centre at the Caol Ila distillery. One of the warehouses is being turned into the Islay home of Diageo’s infamous blended Scotch brand, Johnnie Walker.
Visitors will enter via a footbridge that connects a new hidden car park to the visitor centre entrance, which is situated in the roof of a warehouse. Inside a full experience of the distillery and Johnnie Walker brand will be present, along with a bar that looks out across the Sound of Islay.
Leigh Aitken, Caol Ila Distillery brand home manager, said: “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.”
Another part of the £150million investment into whisky tourism includes another state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh. It will be the hub of Diageo’s Scotch whisky operation in Scotland and aims to ‘mentor Scotland’s next generation of entrepreneurs and exporters.
Over 2 million people visited various distilleries across Scotland last year, a number that has gradually increased in recent years. The Diageo whisky tourism investment drive is said to be the biggest in history and will no doubt have a positive impact on the ever-growing Scotch tourism market.