Glenkinchie Distillery launch sows the seeds of future tourism growth

Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker opens safely for visitors after multi-million revamp

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Glenkinchie Distillery launch sows the seeds of future tourism growth

New Striding Man statue designed by Edinburgh artist Angela Jane Johnston. The iconic Striding Man is joined in his walk by Bruce the dog, a character from the history of Glenkinchie. Distillery Manager Ramsay Borthwick and the current distillery dog, Skyelar, joined Angela to launch the new statue.

The red bricked building sits nestled in a deep green glen, surrounded by rolling fields of barley. Few whisky distilleries are as immersed in their environment and every ingredient as Glenkinchie.

It is here in East Lothian, in an area known as ‘the garden of Scotland’, that the seeds have been sown for a new future for Scotland’s whisky tourism industry with the opening of a new multi-million pound visitor attraction.

Whisky has long-stood as one of the country’s greatest exports, drawing visitors and enthusiasts from every corner of the world. A tried and trusted tour experience has now been completely re-imagined at Glenkinchie, which officially opened this week (26 October 2020) and represents another significant step in Diageo’s £185million investment in Scotch whisky tourism.

Created by BRC Imagination Arts, a global design and production agency renowned for its work on major visitor experiences including the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin -  the new Glenkinchie brand home is a full sensory experience, immersing visitors in the history, craft and flavour of the spirit.

It also brings to life the story of the local community and people who have worked here and the story of the world’s most popular whisky, Johnnie Walker.

Glenkinchie stands as the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker, adding a floral note to the blend, alongside the other Four Corner Distilleries, Caol Ila, Clynelish and Cardhu. As part of Diageo’s investment, the Four Corners will form a network of tourist attractions which all link to the new global centrepiece Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience in Edinburgh, which is due to open next summer.

Each location will offer something completely new to whisky enthusiasts and also bring the spirit to life for first time visitors or drinkers and people were able to savour a first taste of this as Glenkinchie opened its doors this week.

The extraordinary immersive tourist experience in the distillery’s traditional Victorian red brick warehouses sits alongside a beautifully landscaped garden – carefully curated to reflect the stunning local rural environment.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Brand Homes for Diageo in Scotland, officially declared the new visitor experience open with the ceremonial planting of a tree to complete the garden and to represent the future growth of Scotch whisky and tourism.

“The opening of the wonderful new visitor experience and garden at Glenkinchie is the first step in our long-term £185million investment in whisky tourism in Scotland. We are acutely aware of the difficult times many people are going through, particularly our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sector across Scotland. We know there’s a long way to go and a lot of uncertainty ahead. Still, we believe in the resilience of our business and our communities, and we will be doing all we can through our investment to sow the seeds of recovery and future growth.”

Barbara Smith
Barbara Smith

Managing Director of Brand Homes for Diageo in Scotland

“Glenkinchie will give people a thrilling first taste of the new visitor experiences we are creating across Scotland. We will be offering people an experience like no other distillery in Scotland at Glenkinchie and that will be followed as we transform Clynelish, Cardhu and Caol Ila over the coming months, and as we build towards the opening of our global Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction in Edinburgh next summer.”

Ramsay Borthwick
Ramsay Borthwick

Glenkinchie Distillery Manager

Subject to government guidance on COVID-19, Glenkinchie will open to the public on Thursday 29th October. Along with Diageo’s full network of distillery visitor experiences across Scotland, tours operate according to strict COVID protocols to protect guests, employees and the local community. The distillery is accredited by VisitScotland’s “Good To Go” scheme in the verification of its COVID procedures (https://www.visitscotland.org/news/2020/launch-of-were-good-to-go).

Read more about Glenkinchie Distillery, the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker in the press release here.