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Visitors flock to Diageo Scotch whisky distilleries

Diageo’s Scotch whisky distilleries welcomed a record 440,260 visitors last year, an increase of 15.2% compared to 2016.

Lagavulin experienced a 50% rise in visitors last year

The Johnnie Walker maker operates 28 malt whisky distilleries across Scotland, of which 12 have dedicated visitor centres.

Over the last five years, the number of tourists visiting the attractions has grown 96.3%, fuelled by the rise of ‘staycation’ holidays among Brits and also international visitors to Scotland.

Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, the home of the Bell’s blended Scotch whisky brand, was Diageo’s busiest distillery visitor centre, welcoming 86,019 people over the 12-month period, a 23% uplift compared to 2016.

Clynelish Distillery in Brora experienced the biggest increase in visitors, with figures up 127% to 8,544. Islay’s Lagavulin Distillery, which celebrated its 200th anniversary last year, drew in 27,040 people, a 50% rise.

“As the country’s lead export, Scotch whisky is one of the biggest magnets for tourism and we’re continuing to grow visitor numbers from around the world,” said Ewan Andrew, Diageo’s head of international supply

“We’re also continually working to ensure those visitors have the best experience at our distilleries. They always enjoy meeting the makers, then tasting and learning more about our outstanding single malts and blended Scotch whiskies.

“We look forward to welcoming even more visitors to our distilleries throughout the year, and especially so for International Scotch Day.”

Diageo recently outlined plans for its second International Scotch Day, which this year will take place on Thursday 8 February. In celebration of the event, Diageo will offer free entry to its Scotch whisky distillery visitor centres.

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