SCOTLAND’S bottling businesses are raising a glass to a thriving whisky sector boosted by a series of cash injections.
Leading the way is drinks giant Diageo with a promise to invest £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years. It plans to build a new malt distillery as well as a major expansion of its existing plants.
In Paisley, Pernod Ricard’s Scotch whisky and premium gin business Chivas Brothers will benefit from capital funding of £40m to further increase its distillation capacity and production facilities.
Meanwhile, in Lanarkshire, Angus Dundee Distillers Plc has brought a dormant whisky bottling plant back into full production, creating 33 jobs.
Finance Secretary John Swinney, officially opened Angus Dundee Distillers modernised facility and toured the buildings and warehouses that have been rejuvenated as a result of investment by the company and a £460,000 Regional Selective Assistance Grant from Scottish Enterprise.
Angus Dundee supplies 4% of the world’s Scotch whisky and blended and single malts are sent to 70 countries across the world from the Coatbridge site, contributing to the 23% growth in whisky exports from Scotland last year.
Increasing exports is an essential part of the Scottish Government’s economic strategy and the whisky industry makes a huge contribution to building sustainable economic growth.
Chairman Terence Hillman said: “We are continuing our improvements of the 10-acre site, which also includes warehousing and blending facilities. This is part of Angus Dundee Distillers Plc’s expansion to meet the increasing demand for its Scotch whisky products worldwide.”
Chivas Brothers chairman and CEO Christian Porta says the firm wants to capitalise on a thirst for premium spirits in many emerging international markets.
“We are committed to a capital expenditure of £40m annually to further increase our distillation capacity and production facilities,” she said. “This investment, allied to strong market growth, a continued commitment to innovation and the best suited portfolio to target the most profitable opportunities, will provide the basis for future value growth for our company.”
Diageo’s plan to invest in new warehousing capacity to house additional litres of Scotch whisky produced by the distillation investment.
It is thought the move could help to create up to 500 new jobs across the country, with around 100 apprentices and graduate trainees taken over the term of the investment.
Making the announcement, the company’s chief executive Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth.
“Scotch whisky is Scotland’s most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth.”
Images: Chivas Brothers, Diageo and Angus Dundee Distillers are all looking forward to new investment in their respective Scottish facilities.