By Amy Looker
Diageo's UK headquarters has announced plans to invest over £1 billion ($1.57 billion) into its Scotch production over the next five years to meet increasing global demand for its Scotch whisky brands.
A major part of the investment will be an expansion of Diageo's existing distilleries in Scotland, which will include the expansion of warehousing facilities to house the additional Scotch that the expanded distilleries will produce.
The move comes on the back of growing global demand for Scotch whisky, with Diageo reporting 50 per cent net sales growth over the last five years on its Scotch portfolio, which includes Johnnie Walker, J&B and Buchanan's.
Diageo chief executive, Paul Walsh, described Scotch whisky as Scotland's most celebrated manufactured export and said Diageo's planned investment in its whisky brands would contribute towards more growth in the category.
"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 £1 billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth," Walsh said.
"This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories."
Total net sales of Diageo's Scotch brands approached £3 billion this financial year, the distiller said, representing 23 per cent of Diageo's volume and 27 per cent of net sales.