Johnnie Walker experience gets seal of approvalBy Melita Kiely
Diageo has been granted planning permission to create a global flagship visitor centre for blended Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee agreed the plans yesterday (8 May), which will see the restoration of 146 Princes Street in Edinburgh, as well as the clock on the corner of Princes Street and Hope Street.
The Johnnie Walker visitor experience is the key focus of Diageo’s £150 million (US$215m) investment in Scotch whisky tourism, thought to be the single biggest investment in the sector to date.
The centre will feature a multi-sensory, immersive visitor experience spread across three floors; an events space for music, theatre, arts and community events; a training academy that will be home to Diageo’s Learning for Life programme; rooftop access to views across the city; and retail space at street level, inspired by the Johnnie Walker flagship retail store in Madrid, Spain.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early summer.
David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “This is another significant step forward in our journey to create an inspiring flagship destination for Johnnie Walker.
“We have had great support for our proposals from local stakeholders and businesses in Edinburgh, and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to get to this stage. We will continue to work with the local community as we now progress with construction and with making our plans a reality.”
The City of Edinburgh Licensing Board will consider an alcohol licence application for the venue at a later date.
Christina Diezhandino, Diageo global Scotch whisky director, said: “We have ambitious plans to make this a truly world-leading attraction, drawing people from the four corners of the globe to Scotland and to give them an unforgettable experience in Scotch whisky and Scottish culture.”
Last month, Diageo submitted planning applications to transform the visitor experiences at Cardhu and Clynelish as part of its £150m investment in Scotch whisky tourism.