Cardhu Distillery in Speyside and Clynelish Distillery near Brora have opened their doors to local residents and stakeholders to give them the first look at plans to transform the visitor experience at both distilleries.
The distilleries are scheduled to undergo a major transformation as part of a £150m investment in Scotch whisky tourism by distilling company Diageo.
Local residents and community representatives attended events at the distilleries earlier this week for a preview of the plans for the distillery.
As part of these, Cardhu will become the Speyside home of Johnnie Walker, thematically linked to a new global visitor attraction in Edinburgh for Johnnie Walker – the world’s biggest selling Scotch whisky brand.
The distillery has a long association with Johnnie Walker, dating back to 1893 when it became the first distillery to be acquired by John Walker & Sons, to secure the supply of its fine single malt and it remains a key Johnnie Walker single malt today.
Under the plans the visitor experience at Cardhu will be transformed with the story of Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, the pioneering women who established and ran the distillery in the 19th Century being highlighted, as well as the connections to the Walker family.
The plans also include significant new external landscaping around the distillery to enhance access and to create a new orchard space for visitors to enjoy.
Laura Sharp, Cardhu Distillery Brand Home Manager, said: “We are very excited to be able to share our plans for the future with our neighbours and the local community.
“Tourism is an increasingly important part of the Speyside economy, alongside distilling. The investment we are making here at Cardhu will add another jewel to Speyside’s whisky tourism crown and we look forward to working with the local community and stakeholdes as we progress our plans.”
Subject to successful planning permission, work should commence later this year.
Whisky from Diageo’s distilleries all over Scotland contribute to Johnnie Walker, but four distilleries – Cardhu, Glenkinchie, Caol Ila and Clynelish – will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker venue in Edinburgh, representing the ‘four corners of Scotland’ and the regional flavour variations crucial to the art of whisky blending. Together these sites will create a unique Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland, encouraging visitors to the capital city to also travel to the country’s extraordinary rural communities.