Speyside Home of Johnnie Walker opens ahead of Johnnie Walker Princes Street launch in Edinburgh as part of £185 million Diageo investment
LONDON – Today, Diageo continues its commitment to whisky tourism in Scotland with the opening of the reimagined Cardhu Distillery in Speyside. All roads now lead to the Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky experience in Edinburgh – the centre-piece attraction in the company’s visionary ambition for whisky tourism in Scotland – that will launch this summer.
The distinctive flag used by Helen Cumming of Cardhu’s founding family – one of whisky’s most famous female pioneers – to warn illicit distillers of the approaching ‘excise man’ in the 1800s now flies proudly above the distillery once again.
This is the latest move in a journey across the Johnnie Walker ‘four corners’ distilleries of Glenkinchie in the Lowlands and the Highland distillery of Clynelish, which opened their doors to the public after being transformed into world-leading tourism destinations.
The new visitor experience celebrates the distillery’s 200-year history and legacy as a pivotal part of the Johnnie Walker story, it was sold by the Cummings’ family to Johnnie Walker and Sons in 1893 and became integral to the Johnnie Walker success story over the coming decades. The state-of-the-art space includes a re-designed immersive story-telling experience with a projection story room, whisky tasting kitchen and updated whisky experience tours.
Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Chief Marketing Officer, said: “We are delighted to be raising the flag at Cardhu to mark the opening of the new visitor experience just as our distilling pioneer Helen Cumming did two centuries ago. When Helen raised her flag, it was to warn her neighbours and the local community, but today we raise the flag in a symbol of confidence and ambition for the future of Scotch whisky and tourism in Speyside and throughout Scotland.
“Cardhu is a special whisky, a special distillery with a special history and heritage, and the investment we have made creates an exciting and engaging experience that will surprise and delight visitors whether they are local staycationers in the UK or tourists from around the globe when they are able to travel.”
Cardhu is the third of the ‘Four Corner’ Johnnie Walker distillery experiences – which are single malt distilleries that represent Scotland’s four whisky making regions and contribute to the world’s number one Scotch whisky – to be transformed as part of Diageo’s Scotch whisky investment. Following on from the launch of Johnnie Walker Princes Street later this Summer, Caol Ila Distillery on Islay will be next to reopen in 2022 after its own reimagining, to complete the ‘four corners’ story. Most recently, the iconic “ghost” distillery of Brora was also reawakened after 38 years and is producing whisky once again as part of the Diageo investment.
Ewan Andrew, President of Global Supply Chain and Procurement, said: “Cardhu is the latest step in our £185million investment journey to transform Scotch whisky tourism and to create truly world-class visitor experiences at our distilleries, and at Johnnie Walker Princes Street when it opens later this summer.
“Everyone involved in this project is incredibly proud of the visitor attractions we are creating, and of the contribution they will make to the economic recovery of Scotland. This is not just an investment in Scotch whisky tourism, but an investment in the future growth of Scotch whisky by engaging new generations of whisky consumers both at home and around the world.”
At Cardhu visitors will be invited to discover the incredible story of Cardhu in the brand home’s new story room where guests can watch a captivating animation retelling of the whisky’s origins by Scottish production studio Eyebolls. The projected film will tell the story of the distillery’s beginnings and how the tale of Helen Cumming waving the now iconic red flag to warn fellow distillers of approaching tax collectors has gone on to be one of the most acclaimed stories in whisky.
Cardhu Distillery, the Speyside home of Johnnie Walker.
Guests will also be able to explore the distillation and maturation process of Cardhu’s signature whisky, bursting with notes of orchard fruits and freshly cut grass, as part of a selection of updated interactive tours and experiences, and enjoy a dram or delicious highball at the brand home’s new modern Tasting Kitchen.
Cardhu Distillery will initially welcome UK visitors in accordance with the latest safety guidelines and look to host international tourists when it is deemed safe to travel by the Scottish Government.
Diageo has worked closely with Euan’s Guide, a Scottish Charity that works to improve accessibility at all visitor attractions, to make the brand home more accessible for visitors. Diageo has also introduced new sustainability measures as part of its redevelopment to help drive its ambitious Society 2030: Spirit of Progress action plan, such as reducing overall light pollution, conserving water with landscaping and site implementations systems and safeguarding local pollinators and wildlife with a new biodiversity protection programme.
Recently the Lowland and Highland homes of Johnnie Walker, Glenkinchie and Clynelish, received Scotland’s most prestigious Green Tourism Gold award and Cardhu will open as a Green Tourism Gold accredited site. Green Tourism’s certification programme provides a framework to achieve a sustainable tourism business and recognises the commitment of businesses which are actively working to become more sustainable. With the award recognising the full breadth of each distillery’s green operating credentials – from sending zero-waste to landfill, to the sustainability of its distillation process and the high standards of water efficiency and stewardship.
For more information and to book a tour at Cardhu Distillery, please visit https://www.malts.com/en-row/distilleries