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Diageo visitor numbers surpass 1m in Scotland

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo welcomed more than one million people to its visitor experiences in Scotland for the first time last year.

Johnnie Walker Princes Street
Johnnie Walker Princes Street opened in September 2021

Diageo is the world’s biggest Scotch whisky distiller, operating 12 distillery brand homes across Scotland, as well as the Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience in Edinburgh.

In 2023, Diageo welcomed 1.13 million people to its sites in Scotland. The figures were the first to be published since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The eight-floor Princes Street site, the global brand home for Johnnie Walker, opened in September 2021 and welcomed 359,000 people in 2023.

Meanwhile, Isle of Skye-based distillery Talisker saw 184,000 visitors pass through its doors last year, and 157,000 people visited Oban Distillery in Argyllshire.

Blair Athol in Pitlochry welcomed 82,000 guests, Singleton of Glen Ord near Inverness hosted 64,000 tourists and Lagavulin saw 57,000 people head to the Islay site.

Highland-based distillery Dalwhinnie accommodated 55,000 visitors.

Katie Harris, managing director of Diageo Scotland brand homes, said: “Scotch whisky is well-established as Scotland’s leading export to the world and every bottle we sell around the world is an invitation to visit Scotland and experience its amazing culture, heritage and environment.

“The great thing about Scotch whisky tourism is that it creates opportunities all across Scotland, from our capital city to the communities of the highlands and islands where many of our distilleries are located.

“We are incredibly proud to have welcomed more than a million people through our doors for the first time in Scotland, but we believe this is just the start and there is a powerful opportunity for further growth, with all the positive benefits that will bring to Scotland.”

In 2018, Diageo announced a £185m (US$255m) investment in Scotch whisky tourism, which included an extensive upgrade of its visitor centres.

The company has completed renovations at its GlenkinchieCardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish distilleries, the ‘key ingredients’ in the Johnnie Walker blend.

According to the latest figures from the Scotch Whisky Association, more than two million people visited Scotch whisky visitor experiences in 2022.

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