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Diageo to open Chinese single malt distillery

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo has revealed plans to build a US$75 million malt whisky distillery in China.

Render of Diageo's forthcoming whisky distillery in China
Construction is set to begin in early 2022

The Diageo Eryuan Malt Whisky Distillery will be located in Eryuan County in Yunnan Province, and will produce the spirits giant’s first single malt whisky of Chinese origin.

The 66,000-square-metre distillery will also be home to an interactive visitor centre to boost tourism.

Diageo has made significant moves in the Chinese market over the past few years. In April 2019, the company partnered with Chinese baijiu producer Jiangsu Yanghe Distillery to create a whisky. More recently, in September this year, the Ketel One vodka owner laid out plans to construct a research and development centre in Shanghai.

“China is the world’s largest beverage alcohol market, and the demand for whisky is growing rapidly among middle-class consumers who are keen to further discover and enjoy fine whiskies,” commented Sam Fischer, president, Diageo Asia Pacific and global travel.

“Today we celebrate another significant step forward, and one which builds upon our local insights and combines those with Diageo’s global whisky expertise in order to delight the next generation of Chinese whisky consumers.”

The new facility will sit at 2,100 metres above sea level, on a site chosen for its mild climate, biodiversity and access to natural spring water.

“The natural surroundings and the Eryuan landscape will allow us to craft a world-class, China-origin, single malt whisky that will capture the imagination of premium whisky lovers in China,” explained Fischer.

In keeping with the sustainability targets outlined in its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress action plan, the distillery will use ‘renewable and clean technologies’. It intends to be carbon neutral and zero waste, and plans to recycle all the water it uses.

The firm broke ground on the site earlier today (2 November) at a ceremony attended by government officials, industry members and the local community.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next year.

In other whisky news from Diageo, Johnnie Walker appointed Dr Emma Walker as its new master blender following the retirement of Dr Jim Beveridge OBE.

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