Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company, has been named Distiller of the Year 2014 by Whisky Magazine in recognition of the company’s investment in its Scotch whisky business.
The coveted accolade was awarded at Whisky Magazine’s annual Global Icons of Whisky awards, with Diageo congratulated on “putting its money where its mouth is” with its £1billion investment in expansion Scotch whisky production capacity across Scotland.
Whisky Magazine Distiller of the Year is judged by a panel of independent whisky commentators and is one of the most highly prized titles in the industry. The judging panel’s citation read: “Production capacity increased at many of its sites, an investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area and more expansion plans to come, increasing grain capacity, a raft of new expressions and building new distilleries – Diageo has been putting its money where its mouth is for its brands and the category, proving that with great size comes great responsibility.”
The award of the overall title came after Diageo had earlier been named Whisky Distiller of the Year in the Scottish category of the Icons of Whisky awards in an earlier round of judging.
The award adds to the Distiller of the Year title which was given to Diageo by the US-based The Whisky Advocate magazine in December 2013, citing the company’s investment and commitment to its brands.
David Cutter, Director of Diageo International Supply Centre, who runs the company’s Scotch whisky production business from Edinburgh, welcomed the award on behalf of all the employees who work to produce Diageo’s portfolio of world leading brands.
“We are very proud of our Scotch whisky business and of the investment we are making in its future and it is gratifying to have that recognised and acknowledged by independent industry commentators and by Whisky Magazine.”
Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach, who accepted the award on behalf of Diageo at the Global Icons ceremony, added: “We are grateful to the judges and to Whisky Magazine for this significant global award, which I was delighted to accept on behalf of all my colleagues in Diageo whose commitment, vision, skill and sheer hard work makes everything possible.”
Diageo produces Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch whisky brand, as well as a portfolio of other leading blended Scotch whiskies including Bell’s, J&B and Buchanan’s. The company also produces award-winning single malt whisky brands such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Cardhu and Dalwhinnie. Recent distillery investment announcements are linked to the growth of key Scotch whisky brands. Glen Ord Distillery near Inverness will see its capacity doubled to support the Singleton of Glen Ord brand, which is the fastest growing single malt in Asia. A major expansion investment at Mortlach Distillery in Speyside will support the launch of Mortlach as a global single malt brand later this year.
Diageo announced its £1billion Scotch whisky investment programme in June 2012. As well as the distillery expansions the company is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.
In January the company announced the latest phase of the investment with a £30million plan to double capacity at the iconic Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland, taking the company’s capital programme in the Highlands to around £150million.
This adds to previous major investments by Diageo, including building a new malt whisky distillery at Roseisle in Speyside and a new state of the art cooperage at Cambus in Clackmannanshire.