Flagship Johnnie Walker attraction gets green light
Formal permission for plans to create a global flagship visitor experience for Johnnie Walker have been granted by The City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee.
Feature 08 MAY 2019
Announced today, plans to create a global flagship visitor experience for Johnnie Walker, the world’s most popular global whisky brand, have taken a major stride forward with official approval from local authorities in Edinburgh.
The Johnnie Walker visitor experience is the focal point of our £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism, announced last April. This is the biggest single investment programme ever seen in the whisky tourism sector.
The application for the venue has been approved, which is expected to create between 160 to 180 new full-time equivalent jobs and to generate in the region of £135 million in tourism spend in the wider Edinburgh economy.
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.”
Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Global Scotch Whisky Director, said: “We are incredibly excited by our plans for the Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh where people can explore, discover, and immerse themselves in story of the world’s leading whisky brand.
“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.”
The plans for the attraction include:
- A multi-sensory, immersive visitor experience across three floors, guiding people through the 200 year history of the brand, the art and science of whisky-making, and taking them on a journey through the flavours of Scotland.
- A flexible events space for staging music, theatre, arts and community events, making the venue part of the thriving cultural life of the city.
- A training academy that will be a home for Diageo’s award-winning Learning for Life programme, which creates training and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry for unemployed people, and works to improve hospitality standards and promotes the responsible serving and consumption of alcohol.
- Roof-top access with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and across the city skyline to east, west and north.
- At street level the plans include a significant retail space, bringing a contemporary shopping experience and interior design inspired by the Johnnie Walker retail flagship store in Madrid, which opened in November.
Diageo is currently investing over £185 million in Scotch whisky experiences in Scotland. As well as the Edinburgh location, the company is also investing to transform its existing 12 distillery visitor attractions across Scotland and a £35 million investment to reopen the iconic distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora.
Just this week plans to bring the iconic Port Ellen Distillery on Islay back to life were formally submitted to local authorities.