Diageo Bets Big with Scotch Distillery Expansions
Many of the nearly 100 whisky distilleries in Scotland operate independently, but a large number of them are owned by major brands. Williams Grant & Sons owns a handful, as do United Spirits, Bacardi, Edrington, Morrison Bowmore and Inver House. But the largest groups are owned by Pernod Ricard and — above all — Diageo.
In addition to the many wine, beer, vodka, rum, gin and brandy labels Diageo holds under its umbrella, the London-based multinational owns all manner of whisky distilleries and brands. Among them, Diageo counts Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bushmills, Crown Royal and Bulleit, but the pride of its business are the 27 malt distilleries it operates in the various regions of Scotland.
In addition to the popular blended whiskies it offers, Diageo counts such labels as Lagavulin, Oban, Talisker, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie and Glenkinchie as its premier single malts. But while it may be the biggest distillery group in the business, don't think that Diageo is prepared to rest on its proverbial laurels. Last year, Diageo announced it was preparing to inject £1 billion into its scotch whisky operations over the course of five years. And now it has announced a large portion of what those expansion plans will entail.
Having opened the Roseisle malt distillery just a few years ago, Diageo plans to inaugurate another new distillery in the Scottish Highlands in the near future. Set to be located adjacent to its Teaninich distillery just outside of Alness, the new facility itself represents a £50 million investment from Diageo. Once it goes online, its 16 copper stills will produce around 13 million liters of new spirit each year, creating 20 new jobs in the process. The site will also include a bio-energy plant to convert the distillery's byproducts into energy to the distillery and a £12 million expansion of the existing Teaninich distillery on site as well.
“We are delighted to announce the next phase of investment in expanding our Scotch whisky production capacity in Scotland,” said Diageo's malt distilling director Brian Higgs. “All three sites we considered for the new malt distillery were excellent potential locations but after detailed investigations Teaninich came out just ahead in terms of the many complex logistics required when planning such a development.”
The Teaninich project, however, doesn't represent the extent of Diageo's impending investment. The distillery group is also pumping £30 million into a range of distilleries in the Speyside region, including an expansion of the Mortlach distillery at Dufftown and another bio-energy plant at Glendullan.
Following the recent £40 million expansion projects undertaken at Linkwood, Mannochmore, Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Inchgower, Cragganmore and Glen Elgin, it is clear that Diageo has every intention of holding firmly onto its position as the largest distillery group in the business.