By Scott Wright

DOUGLAS Laing & Co, the Scotch whisky bottler and blender, has appointed an operations director as it develops a new campus in Glasgow.

Alan Wright, formerly of Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Distell, joins the board as the long-established firm invests in an “all-encompassing” production site in its home city.

The campus will comprise the new Clutha Distillery, head office, three bottling lines, and cask, cased goods and dry material warehousing.

It will represent an investment in excess of £10 million by the family-owned business, with the distillery expected to be up and running at some stage in 2022.

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Managing director Chris Leggat said: “I’m delighted to secure the expertise and experience of industry stalwart, Alan Wright. Alan will add a further dimension and perspective to our board.”

Douglas Laing said Mr Wright brings to the company a broad range of operations, strategic and transformational change expertise, gleaned from more than 30 years in the global spirits and wine industry. He has worked across disciplines such as production, planning, logistics, procurement, innovation and compliance.

Mr Wright said: “This an exciting time to be joining Douglas Laing. The project led by Chris Leggat and Cara Laing is a real step change for the business and will take Douglas Laing to new heights whilst we maintain quality, value and a first-class customer service experience – I look forward to getting stuck in and delivering.”

The appointment of Mr Wright comes after Douglas Laing, which was established in 1948, said it had reported a record year in 2020, without disclosing figures.

Mr Leggat said: "Sales of cased/ branded goods rose by 31% as we focused on the specialist, e-commerce and off-trade channels. In amongst the challenges of the pandemic there were big wins in markets such as Germany, Russia and Taiwan with brands Big Peat from Islay and Scallywag from Speyside being the front runners."

Commenting on the firm's distillery plans, Mr Leggat told The Herald: "The investment on the overall project will surpass the original budget [of £10m]. There is an appetite for calculated risk and this updated project is in line with today’s goals and aspirations. Essentially we are sticking to the plan and adding on some additional elements."