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Diageo announces 150m investment into Scottish whiskey tourism

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Monday 16 Apr 2018

LONDON (ShareCast) - (ShareCast News) - British multinational beverages company Diageo will invest a total of 150m over the next three years into Scotland's whisky tourism industry.
Diageo, which announced the investment in Edinburgh on Monday, is hoping to bring to life the story of Johnnie Walker, "the world's most popular Scotch whisky" for millions of visitors each year as the firm sought to marry optimism surrounding global demand for the drink with what had been seen as the growing importance of consumer experiences in building brand loyalty.

Ivan Menezes, Diageo's chief executive, claimed the investment would be the "biggest single investment in Scotch whisky tourism" which marked a "real inflection point" in how it planned to promote the spirit.

Diageo will erect an "immersive" visitor experience in Edinburgh for Johnnie Walker, and also planned to upgrade facilities at its existing network of 12 distilleries to give whisky tourism a boost, four of which will form part of a nationwide tour focused solely on the beverage.

Several sites around central Edinburgh were being assessed for their suitability to house the new facility.

Politicians have welcomed the investment, which Diageo said would provide new opportunities for unemployed youth to learn new skills, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying, "This significant investment will not only help attract more tourists to Scotland, offering world-class visitor experiences, but it also underlines the fundamental importance of the whisky sector to Scotland's economy."

"Last week, I launched Scotland is Now, a new campaign that will put Scotland in the international spotlight and showcase the country's world-leading assets, such as whisky, to a global audience," she added.

In excess of 440,000 people visited Diageo's Scotch visitor centres in 2017, a 15% increase against the year before.

Menezes, said, "Scotch is at the heart of Diageo, and this new investment reinforces our ongoing commitment to growing our Scotch whisky brands and supporting Scotland's tourism industry."

"For decades to come our distilleries will play a big role in attracting more international visitors to Scotland," he added.

As of 1130 BST, shares had dialled back 0.58% to 2,477.50p.