Cambus Cooperage near Alloa was opened by His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex and is said to be the “first new cooperage to be built in Scotland for decades”.
The cooperage will turn out approximately 250,000 casks each year - all of which will be used to mature scotch whisky for Diageo’s brands - including Johnnie Walker, Bell’s and J&B Rare.
Tom Duncan, a manager at Cambus said: “It’s not often you get to start with a blank sheet of paper and design something like this from scratch. We worked closely with our coopers to maximise the craft skills which are the core of the job, while using smart technology to minimise the bending and heavy-lifting involved. It’s that blend of craft and innovation which makes this different from any cooperage I’ve ever seen.”
Diageo worked with UK-based engineering firm CI Logistics, which works primarily in the automotive industry. Together they custom-designed a series of mechanical conveyors to move the casks – which weigh up to 85kg when empty.
Richard Bedford, Diageo’s grain distilling director, who was responsible for the Cambus Cooperage project, said: “The demand for Scotch whisky is growing around the world, particularly in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America. To meet that increasing demand Diageo is investing in growing Scotch whisky production capacity across Scotland. That means we need more casks than ever before, so the new Cambus Cooperage is a key part of the future success of our Scotch whisky brands.”