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Raise a glass: Diageo announce plans for £30m expansion of Highland distillery

Drinks company Diageo has announced plans for a £30 million expansion of one of its distilleries.

It has submitted plans to Highland Council to expand Clynelish distillery in Sutherland as part of a £1 billion programme to increase Scotch whisky production.

The company said it would take the ongoing capital investment by Diageo in the Highland Council region alone to almost £150 million, including major expansions at Glen Ord and Teaninich distilleries and plans to build a new distillery at Alness.

Keith Miller, Diageo director of distillation and maturation, said: "The plan to expand Clynelish distillery is another major milestone in Diageo's £1 billion investment to increase Scotch whisky production capacity to help meet the future growth in global demand for our brands.

"Clynelish is a very special distillery, producing spirit which is highly prized for its quality and character and is an important part of our Scotch whisky blending inventory, so this is an important part of our investment programme."

Under the plans, an additional mashtun (vessel for soaking the malted barley), would be installed, along with 10 new washbacks (vessels for the fermentation process) and six new copper stills for distilling the spirit.

This would add to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has and would effectively double the production capacity to nine million litres of alcohol each year.

A bio-energy plant is also planned for the site to provide non-fossil fuel energy to power the distillery.

As part of the planning process, Diageo will hold a community engagement session in February to share further details of the Clynelish proposals with the local community.

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