Diageo ‘interested’ in making Speyside next Champagne

11th June, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

Diageo is the latest drinks multinational to express interest in further developing the Speyside whisky region, hoping it can sit alongside other famous drinks regions such as Champagne.

Speyside-whisky-development-Diageo

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes has met with Scottish politicians to talk about developing the Speyside whisky region, home to Diageo’s Cradhu distillery (pictured)

The UK group’s CEO Ivan Menezes recently met with the parliamentarians representing the Speyside’s Moray constituency, Angus Robertson MP and Richard Lochhead MSP, in London to talk about the “strategic co-ordination and economic developments” for Speyside.

Diageo’s Cardhu, The Singleton, Knockando, Cragganmore and Glen Elgin Scotch whisky brands are produced in the Speyside region.

“It is excellent that Mr Menezes has an interest in Speyside development and am grateful for his commitment to Scotland’s malt whisky heartland,” said Robertson, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Westminster’s Whisky Industry Group.

“There is a great future for everyone in the region and we must properly coordinate to make sure all is being done to the benefit of the industry, whisky brands and the locality.

“Speyside is one of the world’s leading food and drink regions and with the commitment of all partners at the highest level we can ensure we make the most of the opportunities.”

Discussion between Scottish politicians and Laurent Lacassagne, CEO of Chivas Brothers, the whisky and gin arm of French drinks group Pernod Ricard, are scheduled to take place at the end of the month.

Politicians have already met with senior managers at Edrington, who outlined their plans for a £100m development of their Macallan distillery in Speyside.

On this latest meeting between Diageo and Scottish politicians, where no concrete plans have yet been agreed to, a spokesperson for the drinks group said: “As you would expect from a company that has committed £1billion in investment to Scotch Whisky, we are naturally interested in the development of Speyside as well as Scotland as a whole. We look forward to hearing more about the future plans.”

Such meetings with drinks industry chiefs follow round table discussions organised by Robertson in 2009 aimed at co-ordinating future plans for the industry, economic and transport development in the region and the promotion of Speyside and brands of Scotch whisky produced in Speyside.

Richard Lochhead, who is also the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs said that these plans would match other leading food and drink regions like Napa Valley, Champagne and Rioja.

“Discussions have taken place in recent years to properly coordinate different stakeholders in Speyside and hope that we can make significant progress with the involvement of all leading companies and agencies,” he said.

“The future is extremely bright for the whisky industry and Speyside in the years to come.”

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