Cardhu visitor centre upgrade marks ‘major milestone’

Diageo has been granted planning permission to renovate the Cardhu Distillery visitor experience in Speyside, the final project to gain approval as part of the firm’s £150 million (US$215m) investment in Scotch whisky tourism.

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo lodged the planning application with Moray Council to “transform” the visitor experience at Cardhu in April 2019.

The Smirnoff maker unveiled its £150m Scotch whisky tourism investment plans in April last year, which also includes a new “state-of-the-art” Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh. The Johnnie Walker centre plans were approved in April this year.

Cardhu is one of four Diageo-owned Scotch whisky distilleries chosen to represent the ‘four corners of Scotland’ as part of the parent company’s tourism investment plans. The other three distilleries are Glenkinchie in the Lowlands, Caol Isla in Islay and Clynelish in the Highlands.

The approval marks a “major milestone” for the UK drinks giant, which has now secured the green light for all of its transformation projects.

Cardhu’s revamped visitor centre will highlight the story of Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, the women who established and ran the distillery in the 19th century. Meanwhile, plans for new external landscaping around the distillery will enhance access and create a new orchard space for visitors.

‘Important step’

David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have received planning permission for the transformation of Cardhu Distillery in Speyside.

“This gives us the green light on all of our key Johnnie Walker tourism investment projects from Edinburgh to the four corners of Scotland.”

Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo global Scotch whisky director, said: “This is another important step on our journey to create visitor experiences for Johnnie Walker in Scotland as we prepare to celebrate the brand’s 200th anniversary in 2020, and as we work to make new generations of people around the world fall in love with Johnnie Walker, Scotch whisky and Scotland.”

Laura Sharp, Cardhu Distillery brand home manager, added: “This announcement is very exciting and we want to thank Moray Council and all our neighbours for their continued support.

“This is an important step forward on our journey to transform Cardhu’s visitor experience and everyone involved is very much looking forward to work getting underway.

“Speyside is a hugely important part of the Scotch whisky tourism map and we are very excited to bring new visitors to the region.”

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