Multi-Million-Pound Expansion Plans for Glenkinchie Distillery

Glenkinchie Distillery, near Pencaitland in East Lothian, is famous for producing whisky known as the Edinburgh Malt. It is one of a number of Diageo distilleries that will soon be having major work undertaken as part of the company’s £150m investment in its whisky visitor attractions across Scotland.

Diageo hope that proposals to enhance areas of the visitor centre including a new bar and event area, a contemporary welcome lounge, an improved tasting room as well as increased parking, and a new landscaped outdoor area, will be given the green light by councillors. If approved, construction could begin early next year. 

Local residents and stakeholders were invited to view the plans in a special event arranged to allow them a first glimpse of the proposed changes. Glenkinchie Distillery manager Ramsay Borthwick, said: “Glenkinchie is a classic lowland distillery that has been at the heart of the community and the county of East Lothian since it was founded in 1825. 

“As we develop these exciting plans for the future we want to engage our neighbours as much as possible. It was great to have so many local residents and community representatives taking an interest in our plans and we will continue to update them as we progress our plans.”

This latest announcement follows plans released by the company in April to invest £150 million in the Scottish whisky tourism sector, building on the success of the previous year. In 2017, the number of tourists visiting Diageo’s twelve distillery visitor centres across Scotland reached a record high of over 440,000 – an increase of 15% on the year before, showing whisky tourism is in great health.

Glenkinchie is a key part of the Johnnie Walker blending portfolio, providing the light, floral, classic lowland style of single malt Scotch whisky that goes into Johnnie Walker blends.

The distillery has a long history of association with Johnnie Walker, with stock books from 1894 listing Glenkinchie among the single malts going into the Walker blending inventory. 

But distillery bosses also want to show whisky lovers some of the other locations which go into creating the Johnnie Walker blend and encourage visitors to explore the regions and different distilleries which play a part in the final product. 

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 crucial to the art of whisky blending.

Together these sites will create a Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland, encouraging visitors to Edinburgh to explore more of the country.

The planning application for the distillery is expected to be submitted to East Lothian Council in the next four to six weeks and, subject to successful planning permission, work should commence early in 2019 with planned completion in 2020.

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