Distell considers Deanston distillery upgrade

1st August, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

Following the news that Islay’s Bunnahabhain distillery is to receive an £11 million (US$14.5m) renovation, brand owner Distell has said it is also considering upgrading its Perthshire-based Deanston distillery.

Deanston distillery has experienced “exponential growth” in consumer traffic

Earlier this month, Distell revealed plans to invest £11 million in Bunnahabhain over the next three years. Work will be geared towards enhancing the visitor experience, but will also aim to improve the infrastructure of the distillery.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Richard Rushton, managing director of South African drinks group Distell, noted that “there were, historically, areas of underinvestment and Burn Stewart” – the Scotch whisky business acquired by Distell in 2013.

“[T]he business didn’t necessarily have all the right levels of stock required for the long term, [so] we have been judiciously investing in stock as parcels do become available, particularly for our single malts,” said Rushton.

Rushton said Distell is considering additional investment in its maturation and warehousing logistics in East Kilbride. Furthermore he “foresees the need to make further investments” in Deanston distillery, which has experienced “exponential growth” in consumer traffic.

“I think we are going to have to think about added investment, which is a nice problem to have,” he added.

At the start of this year, Distell announced that Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull would cease production for two years while refurbishment work is carried out.

Future developments to Distell’s Scottish distilleries will not, however, involve an increase to production capacity, according to Rushton.

“For us, making sure we have the right brand experiences, the right visitor experiences, and then the right parcels of stock are critical requirements so that we can fully explore the potential for these brands in our chosen markets,” he said.

Read our full interview with Richard Rushton in the August 2017 edition of The Spirits Business magazine, out soon.

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