In the latest major stage in Diageo’s £1 billion programme to increase Scotch whisky production, plans have been submitted to Highland Council for the major expansion of Diageo’s most northerly distillery.
The Clynelish expansion will take the on-going capital investment by Diageo in the Highland Council region alone to almost £150m, including major expansions at Glen Ord and Teaninich Distilleries and plans to build a new distillery at Alness.
Diageo’s director of distillation and maturation, Keith Miller said: “Clynelish is a very special distillery, producing spirit which is highly prized for its quality and character and is an important part of our Scotch whisky blending inventory, so this is an important part of our investment programme.
The Clynelish announcement came as six copper stills were delivered to the Glen Ord Distillery as part of the £25 million expansion plan which is doubling the size of that distillery to more than 10million litres per annum.
Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich. In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150million across the Highland Council area.
Clynelish Distillery produces single malt whisky, it describes as “unique in both taste and texture” which is highly prized by Diageo’s master blenders for use in brands such as Johnnie Walker. Clynelish is also a highly regarded as a single malt whisky in its own right. The distillery is also home to one of Diageo’s 12 distillery visitor centres, receiving more than 5,000 visitors per year. Clynelish is near the Sutherland town of Brora.
Under the plans submitted Clynelish distillery will see the installation of an additional mash tun, 10 new washbacks and six new copper stills for distilling the spirit. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has and will effectively double the production capacity to 9m litres of alcohol per annum, while retaining the character and quality of the spirit. A bio-energy plant is also planned for the site to provide non-fossil fuel energy to power the distillery.
The world’s leading premium drinks business, is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.