A KEY milestone has been reached in the push to transform the Caol Ila Distillery visitor experience after Argyll and Bute Council formally granted planning permission for the development.

Work is now expected to begin on the expansion of the distillery visitor experience over the next few weeks.

The plans are part of a £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism by drinks giant Diageo focused on Johnnie Walker which it says is the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky brand. 

READ MORE: Johnnie Walker Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries revamp under £150m plan revealed

Caol Ila will become the “Islay home of Johnnie Walker” and will be thematically linked to a new seven floor global visitor attraction on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Leigh Aitken, Caol Ila Distillery brand home manager, said: "This is a major investment project that will not only transform the Caol Ila visitor experience, but will add further to Islay’s reputation as the greatest whisky island in the world.”

Caol Ila is one of a number of Diageo distilleries that will see major work undertaken as part investment plans totalling more than £185m across Scotland.

This includes the £150m investment in the new Edinburgh attraction, as well as investment in 12 distillery brand homes, and the £35 million investment in the revival of the iconic lost distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora.