By Andrew Starke
The Scottish whisky region of Speyside is to be the main focus of global spirits giant Diageo’s plans to grow its Scotch whisky production capacity.
A planning application has been submitted for the redevelopment of the Dailuaine distillery complex in Speyside and consultations with residents has begun.
These plans would see a £9.5million upgrade of the existing bio-plant at Dailuaine, which deals with whisky by-products from a number of Diageo’s distilleries, opening the potential for future production capacity increases across Speyside.
Diageo, which runs more Scotch whisky distilleries than any other company, is also developing a series of proposals which would follow the Dailuaine proposal and which would see production capacity increased at existing distilleries by over 10 million litres per annum (mla) over the next two to three years – the equivalent capacity to building a major new distillery – with an investment of around £10million.
The details of these plans are still being developed and will be rolled out gradually over the next two to three years, subject to the relevant planning processes.
The Speyside region is home to 17 of Diageo’s 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland.
The spirits multinational has already invested heavily in the region with the opening of the Roseisle distillery last year – the first major malt whisky distillery to be built in Scotland for more than 30 years, at a cost of £40million.
Announcing the plan, Diageo’s malt distilling director Brian Higgs, said Scotch whisky has never been more popular around the world.
”In recent years we have been able to translate that into significant capital investments in our operations as we build our capacity to meet the global growth potential of Scotch,” he said.
”Speyside is already at the heart of our malt distilling operations and I am delighted that, beginning with the Dailuaine proposal, we are looking at further enhancing our business in this area.”
Over the past six financial years Diageo has invested around £600 million in its business in Scotland.
The company is also investing in Scotch whisky growth outside of the Speyside area.
This year will also see £3.2million capital investment in increasing capacity at the Glen Ord distillery near Inverness.
Earlier this year, Diageo announced a £3.5million investment in increasing capacity at its Caol Ila distillery in Islay.