WHISKY tourism has grown rapidly in Scotland over the past two years with Diageo, the country’s leading distillery operator, reporting an increase of almost 20 per cent in visitor numbers.

Tourists have flocked to the 12 distillery visitor centres run by Diageo across Scotland, with the number rising from 176,471 in 2008 to 194,505 in 2009 and to 210,432 in 2010 – an increase of 19 per cent over the two year period.

There were 43 different nationalities recorded amongst the visitors to Diageo’s distilleries last year, with UK tourists leading the way and accounting for 87,417 of the visits in 2010.

The other top countries, in terms of visitor numbers, reflected the traditional leading markets for Scotch whisky, with Germany, France, USA and Spain making up the top five (see table below).

The increasing popularity of Scotch in emerging markets around the world was also reflected with visitors from countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russian and Brazil enjoying tours of Diageo’s distilleries.

Diageo operates 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, more than any other company, and with 12 of these having dedicated visitor centres it is also the leading provider of whisky tourism facilities. These include the homes of some of Diageo’s iconic Scotch whisky brands such as Glenkinchie, Talisker, Oban, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Royal Lochnagar and Cardhu.

Talisker, on the Isle of Skye, was Diageo’s busiest distillery visitor centre with 50,550 people in 2010, a fantastic increase from 41,271 in 2008 and 47,115 in 2009.

Steve Blake, General Manager of Diageo’s Visitor Centres said the growing popularity of Scotch whisky combined with the high quality of visitor experience offered at the distilleries were the key factors in their increasing success.

He said: “Scotch whisky is this country’s fastest growing export and the great thing about whisky is that it is also a fantastic advert for Scotland. It’s a high quality product which promotes Scotland as a quality tourist destination to people all round the world.

“Just as we focus on the superb quality of the whisky we produce, over recent years we have put increasing effort into ensuring that is matched by the visitor experience we offer at our distilleries. We very much hope that as the popularity of Scotch continues to expand around the world we will be able to play a key role in attracting increasing numbers of visitors to Scotland.

“It is equally encouraging that we have seen such a healthy growth in UK visitors. It is clear that people love the magic, the mystery and the history of our Scotch whisky industry.”

VisitScotland’s Chairman, Mike Cantley, welcomed the success of Diageo’s distillery visitor centres and congratulated them on their contribution to Scotland’s tourist economy.

He said:   “This is fantastic news as we head towards the end of the Year of Food and Drink and shows that the combination of quality products and quality visitor attractions are key to the visitor experience in Scotland.”

For more details on Diageo’s distilleries visit: http://www.discovering-distilleries.com




Diageo Corporate Relations

Ian Smith

Tel: 0131 519 2045

Mobile: 07736 786 888


Notes to Editors


Diageo distillery visitor centre admission figures

Distillery 2008 2009 2010
Talisker 41,271 47,115 50,550
Oban 30,057 30,261 32,018
Blair Athol* 23,391 31,093 28,375
Glenkinchie 24,079 22,827 24,465
Dalwhinnie 16,033 17,829 20,645
Glen Ord 16,923 17,204 18,126
Royal Lochnagar 8,840 9,175 12,005
Lagavulin 4,463 5,449 7,854
Caol Ila 3,597 4,979 5,813
Cardhu 4,424 4,315 4,446
Clynelish 2,992 2,971 3,644
Cragganmore** 401 1,287 2,491
Total 176,471 194,505 210,432

*Blair Athol distillery visitor centre was closed for a substantial period in 2009 to allow for necessary refurbishment work, resulting in a decrease in visitor numbers.

**Cragganmore’s opening hours were significantly extended in 2009, resulting in the large increase in visitor numbers. The distillery visitor centre closes from the end of October to beginning of April. The other 11 distilleries offer year-round access, although opening times vary.

Top five nationalities of visitors to Diageo distilleries in 2010



Visitor numbers             


United Kingdom

















About Diageo


Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

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About Diageo in Scotland


  • Scotland is one of Diageo’s largest spirit supply centres responsible for producing nearly 50 million cases of leading brands of Scotch whisky and white spirits and over four million cases of Ready To Drink brands annually.
  • Around 85% of Diageo’s brands produced in Scotland are sold overseas.
  • Diageo in Scotland currently employs around 4,000 people.
  • Diageo currently operates 28 malt distilleries, one grain distillery and has a 50 per cent share in the North British grain distillery in Edinburgh. As well as engineering and technical support functions, there are extensive warehousing operations in Scotland, which store up to 7 million casks of maturing spirit, and the company’s Scottish headquarters are in Edinburgh.