THE promotion of grain whisky as a worthy drink in its own right has taken a step forward after drinks giant Diageo announced a partnership with former footballer David Beckham and entrepreneur Simon Fuller to launch Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky.

Grain whisky has typically been used as a cheap addition to whisky made with malted barley to created blended whiskies such as Diageo's flagship Scotch, Johnnie Walker.

David Gates, Diageo's global head of premium core spirits, said: "Whisky is experiencing a continued global renaissance and like many of the world's most respected whisky experts, we believe this will be the year that grain whisky breaks into the mainstream and gains the recognition it deserves."

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Mr Beckham said: "The House of Haig has a rich history and I'm proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years."

Haig Club, which will be launched later this year, combines grain whisky from three cask types distilled at Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife. Diageo says this creates a smooth taste appealling to those who haven't tried whisky.

Syl Saller, Diageo's chief marketing officer, said: "David Beckham has rewritten the rules of what it means to be a modern sportsman and businessman.

"We are pleased he has decided to turn his hand to Scotch."