DRINKS giant Diageo has unveiled its plans to revamp the visitor experiences at Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries.

The firm said detailed proposals have been completed for both distilleries following community consultation events and have been filed with Moray and Highland councils respectively.

Under the £150 million plan Cardhu will become the Speyside home of Johnnie Walker and Clynelish will become the Highland home of the brand and will be “thematically linked” to the new global whisky visitor attraction in Edinburgh.

Both distilleries have long associations with Johnnie Walker and remain two of the most important single malts in the making of the brand.

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Cardhu was the first distillery to be acquired by John Walker & Sons in 1893 and it remains a key Johnnie Walker single malt.

Under the plans the visitor experience at Cardhu will highlight the story of Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, the pioneering women who established and ran the distillery in the 19th century, as well as the connections to the Walker family.


Laura Sharp, who is manager at Cardhu, said: “Speyside a hugely important part of the Scotch whisky tourism map and we are very excited by the plans for Cardhu, which we believe will bring new visitors to the distillery and to the region.”

Jacqueline James-Bow, of Clynelish, said: “We believe the investment we are making at the distillery will create a major new attraction and help bring more tourists to this part of the world in the future.”

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Diageo is investing £185m in total in its whisky tourism plan, including £150m in Edinburgh and revamping distilleries, and £35m in reopening sites at Port Ellen and Brora.

The Clynelish plans include a major upgrade of the distillery visitor experience with a new upper floor to tell the whisky’s story, as well as a new bar and tasting area with views of the Sutherland coast. It shares its location with Brora, which closed in 1983, but is now being revived.